Jump to content

The Wall

  • entries
    402
  • comments
    6,085
  • views
    4,751,504

Contributors to this blog

About this blog

Entries in this blog

Sprint's PCS spectrum position in Memphis goes from nothin' but a hound dog to Graceland

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 3:28 AM MDT   Ladies and gentlemen, C Spire has left the building. In Memphis. Or so it seems.   Based on an FCC spectrum lease filing that came down the pike earlier this week, Cellular South dba C Spire has applied to lease all of its spectrum in Memphis to Sprint. S4GRU has not been able to confirm yet, but this almost certainly appears to signal a C Spire exit from Memphis -- its largest urban market into which it expanded just a few years ago.   Disclaimer: the FCC ULS (Universal Licensing System) -- which is the parent database for all spectrum licenses and applications and is what I access directly to do spectrum research -- is down for a server migration over the Labor Day holiday weekend, not back online until sometime next week. In fact, the FCC ULS went offline right in the midst of my research a night ago. Fortunately, I was able to gather the relevant info on the Memphis spectrum to be leased to Sprint. However, the entirety of the transaction also involves Sprint leasing spectrum elsewhere back to C Spire -- more on that later. As more information becomes available, we will publish an update or a follow up, if warranted.   In Memphis, the spectrum to be leased to Sprint is the PCS 1900 MHz C2 block 15 MHz (7.5 MHz FDD) and Lower 700 MHz A block 12 MHz (6 MHz FDD) licenses. From a CDMA2000 standpoint, the PCS would be band class 1 spectrum; the Lower 700 MHz is irrelevant for CDMA2000. For LTE, the PCS would be band 2 or band 25 spectrum, which Sprint would utilize as band 25, and the Lower 700 MHz would be band 12, which Sprint has not held in any other market. That last piece is a key point -- more on that later, too.   At this point, S4GRU cannot definitively comment on C Spire's motivation to leave its largest market -- if that indeed is what is happening. Albeit, similar regional operator USCC faced struggles with expansion into Chicago and St. Louis, eventually closing down those markets and selling off spectrum to Sprint. Likely, that is what is happening in Memphis.   Along possibly related lines, USCC faced spectrum constraints with launching LTE in Chicago and St. Louis, potentially rendering them dead end markets in the current LTE focused environment. From Spectrum Gateway's interactive map, we can see that UHF channel 51 presently conflicts with Lower 700 MHz A block deployment in Memphis. With its Lower 700 MHz A block license encumbered and decent but not large PCS spectrum holdings in Memphis, C Spire likely faced a difficult road to LTE there.   S4GRU may try to seek official comment from C Spire on this matter. Presumably, though, C Spire will address the Memphis issue in the coming days, providing some clarity on the matter. If C Spire is truly exiting the Memphis market, it will have to notify its existing subscribers.   All of that ambiguity aside, Sprint's motivation is clearly understandable. After the USCC transaction in Chicago and the Revol transaction in Cleveland and Indianapolis, Memphis is one of the last few top markets where Sprint holds only 20 MHz total of PCS A-F block spectrum -- even more dire, that 20 MHz in Memphis is broken up into two non contiguous 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) blocks. Though a minimal amount of info has changed in the intervening years or decades since I did the pro bono work, you can view some of my Sprint spectrum documentation, including Memphis, in this spreadsheet, this map, and this spreadsheet.   What that means presently for Sprint in Memphis is additional guard bands are required because of the interrupted spectrum blocks and no chance of LTE carrier bandwidth greater than 5 MHz FDD, nor any band 25 second carrier until after significant CDMA2000 thinning or shutdown. But this spectrum from C Spire changes everything.   At the very least, Sprint will have increased its PCS A-F block Memphis spectrum holdings from just two non contiguous 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) blocks to those two blocks plus another non contiguous 15 MHz (7.5 MHz FDD) block. A band 25 second carrier in Memphis is coming down the river.   However, what I think -- and what other S4GRU staff members have independently concurred -- is that Sprint will swap this C Spire spectrum with AT&T.   First, the spectrum lease application with C Spire is for a long term, de facto transfer lease. We could be wrong, but this lease smacks of a prelude to a full sale of C Spire spectrum licenses in Memphis to Sprint. In that case, Sprint would have options to rearrange its position in the PCS band plan. Primarily, both Sprint and AT&T would be advantaged to swap their PCS C1 and PCS C2 blocks for greater contiguity for both parties. Continue reading.   Just as S4GRU documented in the Columbus, OH market a month ago, the PCS G block LTE 5 MHz FDD carrier probably would be redeployed as a 10 MHz FDD carrier bridged across portions of the PCS C block and PCS G block. That still would leave room in the potentially acquired spectrum for up to two additional CDMA2000 carriers, which would replace two of the three CDMA2000 carriers lost in the PCS D block or PCS B5 block, one of which would be refarmed for an LTE 5 MHz FDD carrier to ensure continued LTE access to any early band 25 devices that do not support LTE in anything but 5 MHz FDD -- the same process that we saw in Columbus.   For illustration of the present, post transaction, and possible PCS spectrum future in Memphis, see this S4GRU graphic:     Other possibilities exist for Sprint and AT&T spectrum "horse trading" in Memphis -- such as Sprint getting the AT&T PCS F block in exchange for effectively returning to AT&T the PCS B5 disaggregation that Sprint acquired from AT&T predecessor AT&TWS in a spectrum transaction over a decade ago. But those other spectrum transaction possibilities would be more disruptive to current service, so I and other S4GRU staff do not think those band plan rearrangements likely in the near future.   To start to wrap matters up for now -- but probably to be continued later -- that Memphis BEA Lower 700 MHz A block is the proverbial elephant in the room. As noted earlier, that is band 12 spectrum. And Sprint now has plenty of band 12 compatible devices previously released, currently available, or upcoming. Indeed, band 12 is part of the CCA/RRPP device procurement plan.   However, we do not expect Sprint to deploy band 12 in Memphis. The Lower 700 MHz A block is not immediately compatible with Sprint's Network Vision infrastructure, and it is currently encumbered by adjacent UHF broadcasting. If, as S4GRU expects, a full spectrum transfer ultimately results from this Memphis spectrum lease, then look for Sprint to flip the Lower 700 MHz A block license to T-Mobile, which has shown its motivation and money to get UHF channel 51 broadcasters relocated -- or paid to accept some adjacent channel interference.   As an exchange for that low band spectrum -- which T-Mobile has now started to value so greatly -- Sprint could gain some of the excess T-Mobile-Metro PCS spectrum that S4GRU pointed out almost three years ago, shoring up Sprint's PCS A-F block 20 MHz holdings in the likes of important markets San Francisco, Atlanta, or Miami.   To return to and conclude with C Spire, our article starter, we cannot precisely document what SMR 800 MHz, PCS 1900 MHz, and/or BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum C Spire will lease from Sprint. Because the FCC ULS frustratingly is out of commission for several more days. Cursory examination when the leases were still accessible online, though, did not indicate any major markets. Rather, this could be tied in with a CCA/RRPP agreement to expand Sprint coverage -- since C Spire infrastructure and handsets typically do not support band 26 nor band 41.   So, the real prize in this transaction is spectrum in Memphis. My apologies to Marc Cohn for ham handedly paraphrasing his 1990s ballad, but it is also all too fitting…in those blue suede shoes...   Leasing in Memphis -- leasing in Memphis Sprint's getting PCS on and off of Beale Leasing in Memphis -- leasing in Memphis How does that really make you feel?   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK5YGWS5H84   Sources: FCC, Marc Cohn

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Sprint affiliate Shentel to buy regional wireless operator nTelos bringing customers and spectrum to Sprint

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, August 10, 2015 - 10:30 PM MDT   What began as widespread speculation back in May came to fruition today. Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel) announced its intention to buy nTelos in a $208 million deal ($640 million total counting debt Shentel will assume). The purchase includes network, spectrum licenses, retail customers/stores and all assets.   Shentel is a regional affiliate for Sprint and provides wireless service in the Upper Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia, the Maryland Panhandle and Central Pennsylvania. nTelos has been a wholesale partner to Sprint, selling capacity to Sprint customers in the Lower Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge communities of Virginia and most of the State of West Virginia.   nTelos coverage area is directly adjacent to Shentel with only a little overlap. nTelos coverage complements Shentel's very well. Shentel will have over one million customers in the newly combined company, making it the sixth largest wireless company in the U.S. and the largest Sprint affiliate.   At conclusion of the purchase, Shentel will take control of nTelos and its assets. nTelos will cease to exist, having spun off its wireline and fiber assets into Lumos Networks a few years back. So, the rural telco that reached the big time 15 years ago in the Richmond-Norfolk MTA when it purchased a PCS B block 20 MHz divestment from PrimeCo in the merger that created Verizon will be gone for good.   The writing was on the wall when nTelos sold off its spectrum to T-Mobile in its large markets of Richmond and Norfolk this past year. Bringing to end an era, as Shentel shutters nTelos' Waynesboro, Virginia headquarters and puts its campus up for sale. Choosing to consolidate the combined company at Shentel's Harrisonburg, Virginia HQ. The end of nTelos will be bittersweet for some, but likely not to be missed by many Sprint customers.   Shentel doubles down and re-ups with Sprint extending affiliation   In announcing the merger, Shentel concurrently released details of new extended and expanded affiliation agreements with Sprint that now to run through 2029. These separate deals call for the disbanding of nTelos and transfer of the existing nearly 300,000 nTelos customers to the Sprint brand. Existing nTelos retail locations will also be converted to Sprint branding while being managed by Shentel. Sprint will transfer their existing nearly 300,000 customers in nTelos territory into the Shentel affiliate agreement.   Most important in this deal is the significant impact on the Sprint network in the Shentel and nTelos territories. Sprint will receive “all spectrum assets in nTelos’ footprint.” This covers more than 5 million people in portions of Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Shentel will assume responsibility of nTelos' network upgrade and LTE deployment. Which will also include additional cell sites and coverage expansion.   Shentel's infusion into the current nTelos network is desperately needed   nTelos currently provides 1x voice and 3G EVDO data native coverage to Sprint customers in Western Virginia and West Virginia. nTelos was already in the process of trying to upgrade its network to 4G LTE through a slow and insufficiently funded process. In some areas, nTelos did have LTE open and live for its own nTelos branded customers. However, Sprint customers could not access it.   nTelos and Sprint expanded their wholesale agreement last year to include 4G LTE. Under the agreement, nTelos had until 2017 to get the network up and running for Sprint LTE customers, adding Sprint LTE bands using Sprint spectrum assets. nTelos current LTE deployed was not usable to Sprint customer handsets, as it runs on PCS LTE Band 2. And Sprint's is deployed on PCS LTE Band 25.   S4GRU hopes that Shentel will deploy MFBI to the newly acquired nTelos LTE network and open it up for Sprint/Shentel customers as soon as physically possible. This should be a priority, as Sprint customers in nTelos areas have been limited to mediocre 3G for years. And we have nearly countless stories of S4GRU members and visitors airing their frustrations and leaving Sprint or nTelos for the Duopoly. But the end is near!   nTelos may have a reputation for being way behind the times and struggling, but Shentel is viewed largely the opposite. Shentel has proven to be a well run regional wireless operator and has been on the forefront of its Network Vision upgrade with Sprint. Shentel outperformed virtually every Sprint market in deploying its network modernization upgrades and LTE deployment.   The Shentel affiliate market is arguably the best performing Sprint market in the country. Shentel is also aggessive in monitoring and maintaining its network. To keep capacity maximized, keep throughput speeds high and provide the most seamless coverage imaginable in a hilly and mountainous environment. Shentel makes Sprint look good in its region, providing coverage and performance surpassing AT&T and Verizon nearly everywhere.   Shentel plans an accelerated network upgrade   nTelos customers and Sprint customers in nTelos areas will likely be very pleased with the transition. If the network upgrades can happen fast enough. Shentel did commit to speeding up the process. On their website, they say...     Shentel is committing over $300 Million in network upgrades and enhancements to bring its newly acquired nTelos coverage areas to Sprint standards and add LTE Bands 25, 26 and 41 (Spark) into the mix. Shentel also will be adding approximately 150 new macro sites (identified in orange on the map at the bottom of the page). Shentel says that the additional coverage from the new sites will improve the experience for the Sprint customers it serves and be more consistent with the type of seamless coverage its existing customers experience in current Shentel service areas. Shentel wants to close the gap and provide a more competitive experience against AT&T, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. There are many customers that Shentel can gain in nTelos areas, as nTelos tends to have a much smaller market share than Shentel does in its markets.   The exact details and dates are still being finalized and pretty much are pending the conclusion of the purchase. Shentel expects to have the acquisition wrapped in six months -- but hopes it may be sooner. No significant government hurdles are expected with this transaction.   As part of the deal, Sprint will get nTelos varied spectrum license assets. nTelos currently holds spectrum in its coverage area in PCS, AWS and BRS bands. These will complement Sprint's spectrum portfolio very well. Sprint actively uses PCS for voice and 3G/LTE data and BRS for Spark LTE data. Shentel will be using existing and newly acquired licenses in its deployments. What is not known at this time is whether Sprint will sell or trade the Band 4 AWS licenses it will pick up -- or possibly put them to use. Most new Sprint devices since mid 2014 now support LTE in the AWS band, and Sprint could choose to keep these licenses.   What to take from all this   This is good news for Sprint customers and nTelos customers in Western Virginia and West Virginia. nTelos did not provide good service to Sprint customers in its area. And nTelos customers weren't all that pleased either. There was a steady drumbeat of complaints about nTelos in our forums.   Shentel is likely to face a lot of bumps in the road and some major setbacks along the course overtaking nTelos. But it will likely do a much better job along the way. Shentel is well managed from our perspective and better funded. Shentel hit its milestones early and is fairly proactive. The network is going to improve significantly. And once Shentel gets the reins, the progress will move much faster and be measurable. We think Shentel will do well if it can capitalize the upgrades sufficiently and timely. And this is all upside for Sprint.   We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that Shentel make opening up the existing nTelos LTE network for Sprint customers a number one priority. Though there is some cost and resources to do this, it will help reduce churn and start building excitement among the remaining Sprint customers in the area. We all need to see something is happening right out of the gate.   And Marcelo, if you're reading, please do something about your only other remaining affiliate, Swiftel up in South Dakota. It will be the last vestige of the Sprint network languishing without upgrades. Please, we are begging you! Maybe Shentel West?     CLICK MAP TO ENLARGE. Map showing Shentel's and nTelos' combined coverage (cyan) and Shentel's planned site locations (orange) to better compete with Verizon, AT&T and U.S. Cellular Source: Shentel, Sprint

S4GRU

S4GRU

Columbus, 8640. The Age of 10 MHz FDD Discovery.

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, August 5, 2015 - 1:28 PM MDT   Columbus. But not 1492. Just 8640. And 26640, too.   This discovery did not require an Italian navigator sailing under the Spanish flag, nor the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Instead, the explorers were an intrepid S4GRU Columbus membership group (sorry, restricted to S4GRU sponsors), some handsets, some screenshots, and some speed tests.   Those last two numbers 8640 and 26640 are the paired EARFCNs 8640/26640 of a band 25 additional carrier found this week in the Columbus, OH BTA. Seemingly, not such a big deal. S4GRU and its members have been finding band 25 additional carriers with different EARFCNs in multiple markets for months now. We even have two tracking threads for additional LTE carriers -- one for all three bands, one for band 25.   However, this band 25 additional carrier discovery represents truly a New World for Sprint. It is 10 MHz FDD. Now, that alone is a big deal. But it is actually just the second finding of a 10 MHz FDD carrier that we have had in the past four days. The Champaign-Urbana, IL BTA came first. We hope to follow up with an article on that later.   More importantly, though, the Columbus 10 MHz FDD carrier is a complete refarming of the PCS G block. The standard 5 MHz FDD carrier at EARFCNs 8665/26665 that is omnipresent across the Sprint LTE network is gone -- it is gone forever where this new carrier has appeared in the Columbus BTA.   To dive right in, let us take a look at two screenshots from the Columbus area...     The engineering screenshot shows the new EARFCN pair of 8640/26640. That in and of itself is not evidence of 10 MHz FDD. But you have to understand that those EARFCNs put the center frequencies of the LTE carrier at 1990 MHz (downlink) and 1910 MHz (uplink), which is precisely the dividing line between the PCS C5 block and the PCS G block. Even as Sprint controls both blocks, there is no reason to make that move -- unless to expand LTE carrier bandwidth across both blocks. We will take a deeper look at this with Sprint spectrum holdings in a moment.   Moreover, look at the speed test. With 2x2 downlink MIMO, a 5 MHz FDD carrier maxes out at 37 Mbps. This speed test -- and others gathered by the Columbus network trackers -- greatly exceeds that number. Add up the evidence. It is clearly a 10 MHz FDD carrier.   Back to the spectrum issue, we should have an extensive look at the Sprint spectrum provenance in the Columbus market. Yes, it will be extensive, but I think that you will enjoy the history lesson. The reason is that Columbus holdings are somewhat unique, so this 10 MHz FDD fervor should not be extended elsewhere -- for now.   The PCS D 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) block and PCS E 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) block were Sprint's original FCC auction winnings back in 1997. The PCS G 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) block was awarded to Nextel as compensatory spectrum for its SMR 800 MHz rebanding. Of course, Sprint acquired that nationwide set of licenses in the merger. The PCS C4 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) block is the most recent acquisition, as low budget wireless operator Revol went kaput and sold off its spectrum.   The PCS C5 10 MHz (5 MHz FDD) block is worth a separate discussion -- because it has an interesting history on several fronts. It was FCC auctioned three times. The first winner was NextWave, which later filed for bankruptcy protection. So, the FCC canceled licenses and auctioned again. Meanwhile, the growth of the wireless industry had caused NextWave's licenses to increase in value, leading to a Supreme Court ruling that the FCC was outside its bounds to confiscate the licenses from the bankrupt NextWave. Thus, that re auction was invalidated. Finally, NextWave reached a financial settlement with the FCC to return some of its licenses, which were "re re auctioned" in 2005. And Wirefree Partners, a DE (Designated Entity) working with Sprint, won the PCS C5 block in Columbus.   That brings us to the second interesting point of spectrum provenance. And this part will certainly veer into editorial content. In FCC auctions, a DE is a small business or minority/woman controlled business that qualifies for bidding discounts. Additionally, the PCS C and F blocks typically were reserved or positioned for DEs. The idea was to increase diversity in the wireless industry. The predecessors of both T-Mobile and AT&T -- through the notorious likes of Cook Inlet PCS, Salmon PCS, et al. -- garnered many of their PCS licenses by way of DEs. Just this year, though, the FCC officially shot down Dish for its use of several DE bidders in the recent AWS-3 auction. No discount for Dish!   VZW and Sprint rarely used such underhanded tactics, but this is one such case for Sprint. Wirefree Partners was a Sprint collaborator, qualified as a DE, won the Columbus license at auction, then later sold the license in full to Sprint.   For a complete Sprint PCS 1900 MHz band plan in Columbus, see the following graphic:     From a historical perspective, what we can see is that Sprint held three non contiguous blocks: PCS D, E, and C5. The additional guard bands due to lack of contiguity of those three blocks were not a great situation, but the total amount of spectrum was more than good enough for CDMA2000. However, when LTE entered the mix, things got truly interesting. That is when the PCS G and C4 blocks entered the stage.   Next, let us look at deployment within Sprint's PCS spectrum holdings in Columbus. Think of the two graphs as before and after. The first, before, and the second, after Columbus 10 MHz FDD discovery:     In the second graph, see how the PCS G block 5 MHz FDD carrier that Sprint users across the country are familiar with has been refarmed, then a new 10 MHz FDD carrier put in its place that spans both the PCS C5 and G blocks.   An almost prophetic piece to all of this comes from the early history of S4GRU. In an article that we published over three years ago, S4GRU identified Columbus as a market that could run a 10 MHz FDD carrier through a combination of the PCS C5 block + PCS G block. Some spectrum holdings have changed that we could not have predicted at that time -- notably, the USCC and Revol spectrum acquisitions. But, remarkably, that possibility of a 10 MHz FDD carrier in Columbus has come to fruition. Read the article if you have not (yes, I wrote it), but you can view the table from it below:       With the elimination of the band 25 carrier at EARFCNs 8665/26665, some may be worried that early single band Sprint LTE handsets will be forced back to EV-DO in the Columbus area. That is a legitimate concern, as many of those single band handsets were originally authorized with the FCC for only 5 MHz FDD, thus cannot use 10 MHz FDD. In refarming all of band 4 W-CDMA to LTE across multiple markets, for a similar example, T-Mobile certainly required affected users to upgrade to new devices or be hung out to dry on GSM.   To provide just one key Sprint illustration, here is S4GRU's FCC OET article on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Note the 5 MHz FDD limitation. But here is the kicker. Most/all of those early single band handsets with LTE bandwidth limitations have had Class II Permissive Change filings at the FCC in the intervening years. Above is the linked filing for the Galaxy S4. Below is a pertinent screenshot from said filing. Note the "additional bandwidths" language.     Even without the Class II filings, though, the expansion to 10 MHz FDD in Columbus should pose no harm to single band handsets. Long before this 10 MHz FDD carrier came to light, S4GRU members found evidence of an additional 5 MHz FDD band 25 carrier located at EARFCNs 8565/26565. See the engineering screenshot below:     In a nutshell, the 5 MHz FDD carrier in the PCS G block has been replaced by an equivalent 5 MHz FDD carrier in the PCS C4 block -- as depicted in the deployment graph and screenshot above.   Now, keep in mind, band 41 remains the high capacity priority for Sprint. This 10 MHz FDD refarming is not yet everywhere even in Columbus -- it has been popping up on various sites, spreading from the outside into the city. And while many other Sprint markets will have an additional 5 MHz FDD carrier in band 25, few will see 10 MHz FDD anytime soon. So, Columbus may serve as something of a testbed. But S4GRU has some educated insight as to where this might be headed next.   As mentioned earlier, downstate Illinois around Champaign-Urbana also has unique spectrum holdings and got the 10 MHz FDD treatment a few days ago. Chicago has a similarly unique yet different spectrum set. But as S4GRU published in another article in 2012, it has a contiguous, green field USCC block of spectrum that now seems to be begging for 10 MHz FDD.     A band 25 additional carrier already resides in that USCC PCS B block disaggregation -- but it is presently 5 MHz FDD. And an additional EV-DO carrier has been added at the bottom of the block. Still, there may be enough spectrum left to expand that 5 MHz FDD to 10 MHz FDD very soon.   The Windy City, are you ready for it? We shall see if S4GRU's short term prediction proves as accurate as its spectrum analysis did three years ago.   To be continued...   Sources: FCC, S4GRU members and staff

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Even More Guardians of the Samsung Galaxy

by Tim Yu and Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 1:20 PM MDT   On the heels of the first of the late summer/early fall flagship handsets that S4GRU reported on two weeks ago, a second group of superheroes has appeared. And both of these new handsets are destined to be the size of a galaxy. So, take note, and stay on the edge of your seats.   Last week, Samsung started certifying what is presumably its next go round of devices for US wireless operators -- the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+ -- with variants pointed toward T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and USCC popping up in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database. Yesterday, Sprint's models joined the FCC authorizations of the rest under the FCC IDs A3LSMN920P, which expectedly is the Galaxy Note 5, and A3LSMG928P, which presumably is the Galaxy S6 Edge+.   A quick glance at the RF Exposure reports identifies the supported LTE bands: Band 2 (PCS A-F) Band 4 (AWS) Band 5 (CLR 850) Band 12 (Lower 700 A-C) Band 25 (PCS A-G) Band 26 (ESMR 800 + CLR 850) Band 41 (BRS/EBS 2600) ...along with the standard CDMA band classes: Band Class 0 Band Class 1 Band Class 10 ...and GSM/W-CDMA bands: GSM 850/1900 W-CDMA Bands 2/5 World roaming capability -- including GSM 900/1800 and W-CDMA band 1, possibly other W-CDMA and/or LTE bands, too -- is likely on board. But FCC OET authorizations are not required to document non US bands.   Carrier Aggregation Is A Go   Following the the presumed 2015 Motorola X flagship authorization a few weeks back -- and that was the the 7th Sprint device to be officially certified for B41 2x Carrier Aggregation (2x CA) -- these two Samsung Galaxy handsets will be the 8th and 9th devices to be officially certified for 2x CA. All join the ranks of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, LG G Flex 2, LG G4, and HTC One M9.   Some, though, may be disappointed that the two Samsung devices were not certified for 3x CA like the GSM/W-CDMA/LTE model for T-Mobile and AT&T, while the other CDMA carrier variants for Verizon and USCC are only certified for 2x CA as well. So, it is likely Samsung had to switch out the baseband modem for a Qualcomm category 6 one for CDMA compatibility -- whereas Samsung may have opted for its own category 9 modem in the GSM/W-CDMA/LTE models.   Now, to add some RF ERP/EIRP analysis from S4GRU's technical editor...   We will dive straight in to the numbers. Of course, all of the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance and uplink versus downlink apply. The figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink ERP/EIRP -- with band class 10, band 25, band 26, and band 41 receiving heavier weighting toward uniquely Sprint frequencies or configurations.   Samsung Galaxy Note 5: Band class 0/10: 21 dBm Band class 1: 19-20 dBm Band 2/25: 18-21 dBm Band 4: 21 dBm Band 5/26: 17-20 dBm Band 12: 16 dBm Band 41: 17-18 dBm Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+: Band class 0/10: 22 dBm Band class 1: 22-24 dBm Band 2/25: 19-22 dBm Band 4: 20-22 dBm Band 5/26: 21-22 dBm Band 12: 21 dBm Band 41: 18 dBm For comparison, here are the ERP/EIRP figures from S4GRU's FCC OET Galaxy S6 article a few months ago...   Frankly, Samsung used to be a leader in RF performance but is showing some continued regression. The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in their Sprint variants brought roughly average to below average RF. In particular, band 41 EIRP was weak. That has not changed with these two new Galaxy handsets -- band 41 is still well below the at least 23 dBm that we would like to see. Between the two handsets, the Galaxy Note 5 is the RF chump. Sorry, Galaxy Note fans, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is notably superior in that regard. The Galaxy Note 5 ERP/EIRP is average to below average across the board. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ is generally a few dB better and actually brings some good low band performance to the table. To reiterate, though, both lack band 41 oomph, and that is a disappointment for Sprint.   Next, to echo Tim's sentiments above, the Galaxy Note 5 will not be the first Sprint handset to offer 3x CA capability, though many had predicted that. Both it and the Galaxy S6 Edge+ are using not a category 9 or 10 baseband but a category 6 baseband, most likely the Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635) -- the same as in the Sprint variant Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. This is because Samsung has at least temporarily, probably permanently shifted away from Qualcomm chipsets in favor of in house chipsets. That means Exynos processors and modems. The Exynos processor is airlink technology agnostic, but the modem certainly is not. And Samsung does not have a 3GPP2 (i.e. CDMA2000) baseband, so it still sources that separate chipset from Qualcomm. For further reading on the processor, baseband, RF transceiver, and carrier aggregation issues, see S4GRU's previous FCC OET articles on the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and One M9 as well as the G4.   Well, that is a wrap. So, are these new Samsung Galaxy handsets Groot or not? Discuss.   Source: FCC

lilotimz

lilotimz

[PSA] Carrier Aggregation Now Officially Live

by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 3:17 PM MDT   Consider this just a public service announcement. Sprint Spark Band 41 Carrier Aggregation (2x CA) now is officially live according to a Sprint internal announcement leaked on Reddit today by a verified Sprint employee in the Sprint subreddit. Late last month, S4GRU found evidence of 2x CA being live in Atlanta, but this now is a formal notice that Sprint has sent to its employees.   This is the present lineup of 2x CA capable devices: Samsung Galaxy S6 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung Galaxy Note Edge LG G Flex 2 LG G4 HTC One M9 ZTE Hot Spot Edit: S4GRU has been fielding numerous questions on other devices. To make this very clear, the above are the only devices right now capable of 2xB41 Carrier Aggregation because they have the hardware (category 6 modem) that is required. Any other phones that were released previously are not compatible because their modems are not category 6 (or higher).   As detailed in the internal document (posted below), the seven devices may receive automatic profile updates this week to enable 2x CA. Alternatively, as some S4GRU users have discovered, 2x CA may already be enabled or can be enabled manually via the hidden Data programming screen.   Next, these are the initial markets in which Sprint is rolling out 2x CA: Boston New Jersey Long Island Philadelphia Metro Providence Southern Connecticut Baltimore Cincinnati Columbus East Michigan West Michigan Indianapolis Washington DC Austin Dallas Fort Worth Houston Kansas Missouri San Antonia Atlanta / Athens Miami / West Palm Orlando South West Florida Tampa Chicago Colorado Milwaukee Minnesota Oregon / SW Washington West Washington Utah LA Metro Las Vegas North LA Orange County Riverside / San Bernardino San Diego SF Bay South Bay For reference, here is a S4GRU map of all Sprint markets:     Finally, this is the internal document posted on Reddit:     Source(s): Reddit

lilotimz

lilotimz

Teaser: Hello Moto (X)?

by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 08:51 AM MDT   Mid summer has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and that means the harvest of fall flagship handsets is just getting underway. (The exception are Apples, which are planted and picked all in one afternoon in September.)   The past two weeks brought our first crop. A new authorization for a Motorola device in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) database arrived yesterday. Just about in time for Motorola's expected August/September launch of its flagship (read: Moto X) devices.   Prior to that, S4GRU staff discovered a Motorola device filing last week with FCC ID IHDT56UC2, approved for LTE bands 2/4/5/7/12/17/25/29/41 in addition to the standard W-CDMA and GSM bands. Quick staff analysis of the filing lead to the conclusion that it was a either a fully unlocked version or a T-Mobile variant -- due to onboard VoWi-Fi and intra band band 4 carrier aggregation, both of which T-Mobile is pushing hard.   But other tech media discovered and wrote articles on the handset filing -- with some speculating that it was for Sprint as well, due to the inclusion of LTE bands 25/41. Did they overlook that band 26 and any CDMA2000 capability were absent? We know very well that Sprint devices must have LTE bands 25/26/41 and CDMA2000 band classes 0/1/10 at the minimum.   So, we waited with watchful eye for any new authorizations from Motorola, expecting a Sprint variant soon. Indeed, Motorola delivered FCC ID IHDT56UC1.   Fully Sprint CCA/RRPP and VZW/AT&T/T-Mobile compatible   This handset is fully certified for the Sprint network and those of its CCA/RRPP partners. It also completely covers VZW and T-Mobile network capabilities, mostly for AT&T, too, though lacking Ma Bell's emerging LTE bands 29/30.   For a full rundown, it supports:   LTE bands: 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 12 / 13 / 17 / 25 / 26 / 41 CDMA Band Class: 0 / 1 / 10 W-CDMA Band: 2 / 4 / 5 GSM: 850 / 1900   So, Sprint Spark? Got it. VZW XLTE? Got it. T-Mobile band 12? Got it. This handset does almost everything -- including carrier aggregation.   Sprint Band 41 Carrier Aggregation Capable   The device is a category 6 UE and supports all of the myriad FDD carrier aggregation combos present in the unlocked or T-Mobile variant detailed earlier. But this variant also includes Sprint's LTE Advanced implementation of TDD carrier aggregation on band 41 -- aka 2x CA band 41 or B41+B41. For reference, S4GRU confirmed activation of carrier aggregation and wrote about it a few weeks ago.   Now, this is the seventh announced device to support Sprint's band 41 carrier aggregation, joining the ranks of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, HTC One M9, LG G Flex 2, and LG G4.   Edit: There may be issues with MXPE's B41 carrier aggregation compatibility with the Sprint Network.   To wrap things up, I am not conclusively declaring that this is the 2015 Moto X nor that it is definitively headed to Sprint postpaid -- we all know what happened with the Sprint variant 2014 Moto X. But the band 41 carrier aggregation support screams Sprint and the FCC authorization timing comes spot on for an August/September device launch, as historically has been the time when Motorola has launched its flagship devices.   So, you be the judge...   Source: FCC

lilotimz

lilotimz

[UPDATED] EDITORIAL: Marcelo, that's not quite what we were thinking "All In" would look like

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 1:30 PM MDT   Update: at 7:00 p.m. MDT Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure announced the following on Twitter, "We heard you loud and clear and we are removing the 600 kbps on streaming video. #Allin and we won't stop" . We don't do many editorials here at S4GRU. We tend to editorialize in our forums. Where our opinions run rampant. We also don't do articles about plan offerings. We are a network focused site. However, our Staff here at S4GRU feels that one is due concerning Sprint's new All In plans. . We aren't sure where Sprint was going with this. Is it a new plan or is it a Trojan horse meant to protect the network from streaming?   The title "ALL IN" and the hashtag #AllIn conjures up the thought of the poker strategy. Where you push all your chips in with your best and final bet. The one you do when you have a winning hand. The bet that ends all other bets. It's everything you can offer up. You have given your all. It's the best you can do and you believe it is unbeatable. Because you are putting it all on the line.   But the All In plan doesn't appear to be a winning strategy. We believe it will not succeed for Sprint as they intend. It is not really less expensive or more attractive than existing plans or Tmo's new plans. And has a Draconian hard streaming cap of 600kbps throughput. That streaming cap is going over like a lead filled balloon.   Simple is good, you're on the right track . We like the idea of simplicity. No more hidden costs and fees. You just pay one flat rate for phone and unlimited data. OK. The David Beckham video and the attractive Sprint store rep is good. It makes a great point, compared to your competitors. But it's an easy thing for your competitors to replicate. Simple pricing. And they don't have fine print limiting streaming to only 600kbps. That really is the kicker here.   So we just aren't seeing the new and innovative thing with All In. You already have plans that price out the same way as All In (some even less expensive). It appears as a marketing gimmick that is disguising a desperate move to limit streaming. This is not popular with your current customers and your new customers are likely going to hate you for it. After they find out. . Marcelo, it's inappropriate that David Beckham touts unlimited movie watching and you reference unlimited watching videos in your Press Release. 600kbps video streaming can hardly run any YouTube or Netflix streaming. It will buffer significantly even with the lowest resolution settings. 600kbps is insufficient for most moderate quality video streaming on a smartphone screen.   Unlimited only matters because of streaming   Let's face facts here. Unlimited only matters to most customers because of streaming. I'm just pulling a number out of the sky here based on my experiences running a Sprint themed wireless blog, but I would venture a guess that 95% of your customers use just a gig or two of data monthly if you do not include streaming. It's not hard to offer unlimited data excluding streaming.   Most customers who see Sprint as a value in wireless is because of unlimited streaming. If customers do not stream, they can live with reasonable data buckets. 1GB, 2GB, 5GB plans will work for almost everyone, excluding streaming. If you remove streaming from unlimited, most people don't care about unlimited when they understand it all.   Yes, you will still allow unlimited streaming with All In plans, but at only 600kbps. That is way too low. It is a defacto removal of unlimited streaming. I'm sure it was put in place to reduce the burden on the network significantly. By getting people to stop streaming because of the poor video quality. And reducing the burden on the network for those who continue with poor quality streaming.   With all that said, we get it. We get the need to do something about streaming. It is a problem. It is a huge drain on your network. But we need to call it what it is and not hide the problem in a new plan and then tout unlimited streaming to the masses. That part is a huge mistake. The media, bloggers and your customers are all crying foul.   Unlimited data abusers are killing the network, we get it. But this is not the solution or the time   The problem here is that the All In plan punishes everyone. But we see the issue here as data abusers. Customers who use vastly higher data amounts than everyone else. The five percenters, or even the one percenters. Tmo has decided to deal with these types by creating a monthly soft cap of 21GB on unlimited plans. So for Tmo, they have drawn a line and said that customers who exceed 21GB are the ones causing the most problems on their network.   Most customers do not use more than 21GB per month. Probably 95% - 98% use less than that. To cite our own S4GRU internal poll, somewhere just north of 8% use that much data. And our members are typically pretty heavy users compared to the general population.   But our data also illustrates that a minority of users, those who use more than 21GB per month, have a huge impact to the total usage. Just a small handful of abusers can account for 30% to 50% of all traffic. These people are killing unlimited data for all of us.   S4GRU Staff and most of our members understand the burden that the abusers are creating to the network. We have been sitting by waiting for something to be done about it. We know something has to be done, and we support something to be done in general. But this is not it.   The T-Mobile 21GB soft cap is one way. And frankly, it's much better than a 600kbps streaming cap. Your streaming cap affects all customers who stream. The Tmo 21GB cap affects only customers who have used more than their fair share. And it gets reset next month. Your 600kbps plan never gets reset. A customer can never do anything to have a good quality stream, except leave Sprint.   I can understand why you wouldn't mind chasing away data abusers. But why would you want to chase away good customers who occasionally want to have a quality streaming experience? You're telling them they have to go to T-Mobile, or AT&T or Verizon if they want a quality video streaming experience. Bad idea!   You need to remove the 600kbps streaming limit immediately from All In. Or it is dead on arrival. DOA. David Beckham can't save it as is. Like he is going to watch videos on his smartphone streamed at 600kbps. You need to do this in a way that punishes only those who abuse your unlimited offering. Not every day customers.   Perhaps limiting video streaming to something more useful? Like 2Mbps. Or maybe a soft cap, like 21GB? Or 25GB? Also, the previous plans of only limiting users on sites that are over capacity. That at least was fair. I understand Net Neutrality all plays into this. But something better is needed. You're strangling your Golden Goose. It feels like you have just put Unlimited on life support.   In conclusion   We like the idea of simplicity. All In has good roots and the David Beckham video really drives home the point. It can be a good differentiator for Sprint. Although some of our members would like to see the pricing even lower to compete better with existing plans.   That said, Sprint must do something else with the video stream throttling. It's nearly universal that 600kbps is too low. It's not even close to satisfactory. We have never had a virtually unanimous response before. Until now. Nearly everyone believes this is an outright awful move.   We could find almost zero support even among Sprint's most loyal base. Marcelo, the tech media and the haters are eating your lunch today. You're being flamed, and All In will go down in flames if you don't do something about this. And fast. . Unlimited is what Sprint uses to differentiate itself from everyone else. And Sprint's unlimited reputation is being injured right now. Sprint cannot handle being branded as the network with unlimited, except streaming. It will drive customers away and keep them away in droves. The reputation is already starting to stick. Fix it! Fix it now!   Marcelo, we are begging you to crack down on the data abusers. Not your everyday customers who may stream occasionally. Or may use a lot over one or two days every few months when on vacation. Most of your customers want to be able to have a quality streaming experience within a reasonable amount every month.   But my real fear is new customers. They are expecting a quality streaming experience, as they received from their previous providers. Now just unlimited. It's not like Sprint sales reps are going to be telling everyone they are going to have a low resolution always buffering video streaming experience. It will be in the fine print that no one will read. And they are going to be pissed off at Sprint once they figure it out. And your competition and the Sprint haters are going to eat this up. John Legere is already grinning ear to ear like the Grinch who Stole Sprint Customers.   There's still time to fix All In. But time is running out. Please make me look foolish for #AllInDOA. I want to eat my words. Err, hashtag. Marcelo did make me eat it! And it was tasty!  

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation Discovered Live Today in Atlanta (B41 2xCA)

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 5:20 PM MDT   It's finally happening. 2x Carrier Aggregation was found in the wild today on the Sprint network! We have been receiving reports for the past several months that second B41 channels were appearing all over Sprint-land, but nothing about finding them being aggregated together. That changed this afternoon.   It was discovered today by an S4GRU Member in the Atlanta market that Carrier Aggregation is live on LTE Band 41 (TDD LTE 2600). S4GRU Member Camcroz was able to get his Samsung Galaxy S6 to connect to two B41 carriers simultaneously. Even with a medicore -108dBm signal while moving highway speeds, he was able to get nearly 90Mbps. Theoretical maximum for 2xCA on 20MHz TDD LTE channels in the time configuration Sprint is using is 160Mbps in ideal circumstances.   We do not know the extent of how much is live in Atlanta or other markets. This may only have been a test and will be taken offline soon. Or it's possible that it is going live today in other Nokia markets, or maybe even Sprint-wide where two B41 channels are live.   Camcroz reported to S4GRU he was able to keep B41 2xCA while travelling down Highway 400 near Avalon Mall in Alpharetta all the way across most of Atlanta, losing it as he approached the Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport where he ended up on Clear B41 single carrier.   The picture below represents the member's findings. He reports that he had 94Mbps Down in his best test. He had to manually enable Carrier Aggregation himself on his GS6 using ##DATA#. Sprint devices currently have it disabled automatically. They will likely push an update in the future to enable it for customers.     This is two 20MHz TDD-LTE B41 carriers connected together via Carrier Aggregation (noted as 2xCA). Sprint says it will not be until 2016 before they have devices released and the network prepared for 3xCA (three 20MHz carriers aggregated together).   Let us know if you are able to find any 2xCA in your neck of the woods. Report your findings in the comments below or in an appropriate S4GRU forum thread. Viva la Carrier Aggregation!!!

S4GRU

S4GRU

(UPDATED) Use the 4th, LG. May the 4th Be with You.

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, May 8, 2015 - 12:15 PM MDT   Update: A week after the Sprint variant LG G4 original authorization documents were released at the FCC OET and S4GRU published this RF performance article, a Class II Permissive Change filing was added to the G4's docket. In writing the article last week, we did not detect anything amiss with the original filing, so this represents an optional change, which the filing discloses as hardware modification affecting the main antenna. Interestingly, none of the previous antenna gain figures have been altered, but the ERP/EIRP figures have increased or decreased. See the smoothed and averaged differences below: Band class 0: -1 dB Band class 10: -2 dB Band 4: -3 dB Band 5: -2 dB Band 12: -2 dB Band 26: -2 dB Band 41: +2 dB So, you win some, you lose some. Overall, the Sprint variant G4 has become weaker in tested RF performance. Those negative differences, however, are limited mostly to lower frequencies in the 700-1700 MHz range. The 1900 MHz range is unaffected, and the 2600 MHz range is increased. The other win is that a Class II filing before a device is released generally means that release is imminent. Look for the G4 on shelves and online soon.   Yes, I know it is no longer May 4th. And we are not in a Samsung Galaxy far, far away. But this is episode IV in the LG G handset series, just four days removed from May 4th. That should be enough of the number four to satisfy anyone. Even if this isn't the Motorola Droid you're looking for, is the LG G4 a new hope for a flagship Sprint handset this spring?   S4GRU staff has been watching the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization database over the past week as different G4 variants were revealed. The VZW variant came earlier in the week, and the Sprint variant ZNFLS991 documents were uploaded yesterday. Of course, we are going to write an article about it, so let us get started.   Right away, the G4 adheres to what has become the standard Sprint variant configuration: tri band LTE, non SVLTE, single RF path with e/CSFB. Additionally, it covers the CCA/RRPP LTE bands. And it was tested for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands -- phone unlockers rejoice. Finally, it does officially support downlink carrier aggregation as its lone Release 10 feature. More on CA later.   Next, it is fairly well known and somewhat controversial that the G4 opted not for the top of the line Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 but for the lesser Snapdragon 808, taking some performance hits in graphics and memory departments, for example. S4GRU does not involve itself in that debate -- that is not the place of this cellular RF focused article. But the chipset choice is relevant because both the Snapdragon 808 and Snapdragon 810 incorporate the same Category 9 X10 LTE baseband on die. So, rest assured, the choice of the Snapdragon 808 does not lessen any RF capabilities.   On that topic, if you need a refresher on the new Qualcomm LTE baseband naming/numbering scheme, see this sidebar from our earlier article on the HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6:     Back to discussion of CA support, we have stated previously that FCC OET authorization filings are not required to disclose downlink CA -- because that is only reception, not transmission. But the G4 filing does include an explicit attestation letter, stating its inclusion of downlink CA. What the G4 filing does not divulge is specifically 2x or 3x downlink CA support in band 41. For various reasons, S4GRU believes the former, that the G4 is capable of band 41 2x CA.   First, the Snapdragon X10 LTE baseband natively supports up to 60 MHz of 3x downlink CA. However, that requires some help. An RF transceiver sits ahead of the baseband, and presently, the Qualcomm WTR3925 can handle 2x CA -- but 3x CA necessitates the inclusion of a second transceiver. See this excerpt from an AnandTech article on the new Snapdragon chipsets:     Moreover, the other G4 variants that support CA are explicitly limited to 2x CA, suggesting that all variants are using the single WTR3925 transceiver. This is all educated conjecture, barring a teardown of the Sprint variant that probably will never happen. But if you are waiting on 3x CA, that likely will require a next generation Qualcomm transceiver to do 3x CA all in one.   Finally, straight from the horse's mouth, Sprint CTO Stephen Bye stated the following in a recent FierceWireless article:     Now, honestly, most read our FCC OET authorization articles for ERP/EIRP figures and analysis. So, without further ado, here are the numbers: Band class 0: 22 dBm Band class 1: 26 dBm Band class 10: 23 dBm Band 2: 25 dBm Band 4: 24 dBm Band 5: 22 dBm Band 12: 17 dBm Band 25: 25 dBm Band 26: 22 dBm Band 41: 23 dBm For reference, the above figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of max uplink ERP/EIRP -- with uniquely Sprint frequencies receiving heavier weighting, if possible, in band class 10, band 25, and band 26. Of course, the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance apply.   As for analysis, max RF output looks quite healthy across the board, comparing very favorably with that of the One M9 and soundly thrashing that of the disappointing Galaxy S6. In particular, the power output for CDMA2000 band classes is a good 3 dB higher than most.   Note, if you are using the smart cover for wireless charging, though, ERP/EIRP is affected roughly -1 dB across the board. I am not a fan of wireless charging because of the power inefficiency involved, but the RF loss from the smart cover on the G4 appears considerably less than what we have seen from some previous handsets.   If there is any caveat about the G4's RF capabilities, that would be its antenna gain, broken down by frequency range as follows: 700 MHz: -5.9 dBi 800 MHz: -7.1 dBi 1700 MHz: -5.2 dBi 1900 MHz: -3.5 dBi 2600 MHz: 1.7 dBi Except for 2600 MHz, all are negative, significantly negative. And for comparison, again except for 2600 MHz, the VZW variant antenna gain in all bands tracks about 3 dB higher. The head scratcher, however, is that the lab performance between the two variants is remarkably similar, despite the differences in antenna gain.   We have seen something like this before -- an LG handset that showed strong lab power output yet weak real world performance. Remember the LG Viper? That is the challenge in interpreting lab results. Low output always indicates weak performance. However, high output can be a mixed bag. But LG has a pretty good Sprint track record since the Viper, as the LG Optimus G, LG G2, and LG G3 were all at least average to good in the real world. And the LG manufactured Nexus 5 was practically a Jedi knight for its RF performance at the time.   In the end, only many trials on Dagobah will tell if the G4 lives up to its powerful promise. Use the 4th, LG, use the 4th.   Source: FCC, AnandTech, FierceWireless

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Take Two! Sprint offers BYOD for Apple Devices

. by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 11:40 AM MDT   Back in December, S4GRU brought to you news that Sprint was opening up their network for Apple iPhone devices from other networks to be brought in and used on theirs. BYOD - Bring Your Own Device. Or, as Sprint is calling it, BYOAD...Bring Your Own Apple Device. However, just before it could go into effect, Sprint pulled the program and the plan was put on hold. Well, it's back!   BYOAD lauches tomorrow, March 13th. Sprint is opening this up to unlocked models of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini Retina and iPad Mini 3. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c Verizon models are also eligible. The iPhone 5s/5c AT&T and Tmo model have CDMA disabled and thus are not eligible. BYOAD can be used with any Sprint rate plan, except for the Cut Your Rate in Half. Some special terms and conditions apply. The graphic below explains them.   When we reported last December, it did not include any iPhone 5s or 5c models. The addition of the Verizon models is new to the plan. We assume it will be allowed for existing account holders as well as those opening new accounts, as there is no mention of that limitation. However, the biggest limitation will be Sprint Spark compatibility, as Apple devices for other providers tend to not support LTE Band 41.   Sprint has been at a disadvantage in not allowing unlocked compatible devices on their network. AT&T and T-Mobile both allow customers to bring in a device from other providers if they are compatible and unlocked. Although most devices from Sprint's competitors are not compatible with the Sprint network, there are some notable exceptions.   Now we just look forward to the time when most devices can be brought into the Sprint network.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Summer of 6&9: Samsung and HTC Rock Out with Their Flagships for the Season

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, March 5, 2015 - 12:15 PM MST   I got my first real smartphone. Bought it at the five and dime. Browsed S4GRU 'til my fingers bled. Was the summer of 6&9.   Spring has not quite yet sprung for a few more weeks. But with the annual Mobile World Congress just wrapping up today in Barcelona, new smartphones that likely will dominate the mobile landscape through most of the summer are starting to sprout. Germinating at the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) over the past few days have been authorization filings for the Sprint variants of the Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, and HTC One M9. Get ready for the summer of 6&9.   S4GRU started a tradition of FCC OET authorization articles right around this time in 2012 with the debut of Sprint's first LTE devices. So, to celebrate the third birthday in our long running series, let us take a look at the cellular RF capabilities of this latest threesome of Samsung Galaxy and HTC One handsets.   To begin, all three devices follow what has been for the past 18 months the standard Sprint variant configuration: tri band LTE, non SVLTE, single RF path with e/CSFB. No surprises there. On top of Sprint tri band LTE, the three handsets also cover the CCA/RRPP LTE bands -- with one possible caveat for the One M9. More details on that later.   As an aside, Qualcomm is changing up its baseband modem branding and numbering schemes. Previously, branding was Gobi and numbering was, to use one example, MDM9625 for standalone modem chipsets. Then, many Snapdragon processor chipsets also included the same modems on die -- a la the Snapdragon 800, aka MSM8974, which integrated the same stack as in the standalone MDM9625. Branding is now changing universally to Snapdragon and numbering, to use just one example again, will follow the X10 LTE pattern. That last example is the Snapdragon 810's brand new LTE category 9 modem, which has no standalone modem precursor. But other rebranded and renumbered examples with their standalone precursors include the Snapdragon X5 LTE (MDM9625), Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635), and Snapdragon X12 LTE (MDM9645).   That Qualcomm background is useful as we will start the rundown with the One M9, which incorporates the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE chipset. To cut straight to the chase, below are the tested ERP/EIRP figures: Band class 0: 20 dBm Band class 1: 25 dBm Band class 10: 20 dBm Band 2: 25 dBm Band 4: 23 dBm Band 12: 18 dBm Band 25: 25 dBm Band 26: 17 dBm Band 41: 23 dBm For reference, and this will pertain to the ERP/EIRP figures cited later for the Samsung devices, too, the above figures represent our best averaged and rounded estimates of max uplink ERP/EIRP -- with uniquely Sprint frequencies receiving heavier weighting in band class 10, band 25, and band 26. Of course, the usual disclaimers about lab testing versus real world performance apply.   Now, to provide some analysis, RF output looks relatively healthy, somewhere in the better than average range. And it generally, albeit minimally trumps that of its HTC One M8 predecessor -- see our S4GRU article from last year.   The aforementioned caveat about CCA/RRPP bands is that the FCC OET filing for the One M9 does not include separate testing of band 5. Now, that may not indicate omission of band 5 -- because band 26 is a superset of all band 5 frequencies. But we cannot guarantee that the One M9 will attach to band 5 roaming networks without MFBI for band 26.   Two other omissions are worthy of note. First, the FCC OET documents offer no mention of band 41 carrier aggregation capabilities. This may or may not be cause for concern. Current carrier aggregation is downlink reception only, not uplink transmission. And FCC OET testing is just the opposite -- uplink transmission only, not downlink reception. As such, the testing is not required to include carrier aggregation. We do know that the Snapdragon 810 with X10 LTE supports up to 3x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation, so we expect that 2x or 3x band 41 carrier aggregation is on board. S4GRU will follow up if more info becomes available.   Second, the One M9 was not tested, thus is not authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands. Rabid phone unlockers under the new Sprint domestic unlocking policy, consider yourselves forewarned.   Finally, the One M9 docs suggest VoLTE support at launch. But Sprint has no established timeline for VoLTE, so take that with a grain of salt. It could be just a latent capability.   Moving on to the galactic federation, Samsung has split its Galaxy S6 offerings in two this year, offering a separate Galaxy S6 Edge as a step up version. With one possible exception, both Galaxy S6 handsets have the same RF capabilities. However, their ERP/EIRP figures are not identical, so they are broken out separately below:   Samsung Galaxy S6: Band class 0: 17 dBm Band class 1: 23 dBm Band class 10: 17 dBm Band 2: 22 dBm Band 4: 23 dBm Band 5: 16 dBm Band 12: 21-17 dBm (declining with increasing carrier bandwidth) Band 25: 22 dBm Band 26: 16 dBm Band 41: 16 dBm Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge: Band class 0: 18 dBm Band class 1: 22 dBm Band class 10: 18 dBm Band 2: 22 dBm Band 4: 24 dBm Band 5: 17 dBm Band 12: 17 dBm Band 25: 22 dBm Band 26: 17 dBm Band 41: 19-11 dBm (declining with decreasing center frequency) As for analysis, both Galaxy S6 variants are about average -- with the Galaxy S6 Edge holding generally a 1 dB "edge," pun intended. Neither, though, holds up to the tested RF output of the One M9. Some surmise that Samsung's much debated shift in handset materials this year from largely cheap feeling plastic to more premium metal and glass has had a detrimental effect on RF design and performance. We cannot jump to that conclusion, but the RF falloff does become even more apparent in comparison to last year's Samsung Galaxy S5 -- again, see our article.   In particular, band 41 EIRP is disappointing. A higher frequency band should precipitate higher RF output. But that is not the case this year, as the band 41 uplink maximum for both Samsung handsets drops 4-7 dB below that of the One M9 and fully 6-9 dB below that of the Galaxy S5.   Also, the band 41 extreme frequency differential in the Galaxy S6 Edge is disconcerting. It is up to 8 dB better in high BRS spectrum than in low EBS spectrum. Meanwhile, multiple band 41 center frequencies in BRS/EBS spectrum will vary from market to market, so performance will also vary. If using the Galaxy S6 Edge on band 41, you better hope for EARFCN 40978 or greater.   Alright, that less than good news out of the way, let us move on to more positive things. The Samsung Galaxy S6 handsets are LTE category 6 -- with explicitly noted support for 2x band 41 carrier aggregation. More on that, too, later. They also have been tested and authorized for domestic GSM/W-CDMA bands, so unlocking in the future for use on other domestic operators may be possible. VoLTE, though, is noted as not supported out of the box. It is, however, on board other Galaxy S6 variants, thus could be added later with a Class II Permissive Change filing and potentially a software update.   Now, back to LTE category 6. In addition to its material design change this year, Samsung has also broken lockstep with Qualcomm, choosing to forgo the 64 bit, octa core Snapdragon 810 processor in favor of its in house 64 bit, octa core Exynos 7420. S4GRU does not traffic in application processor chipset holy wars -- there are plenty of other sites for that. But this chipset change has other ramifications. Unlike the Snapdragon 810, the Exynos does not have a baseband modem on die. Thus, Samsung has had to include a separate modem chipset. And, unfortunately, the full identity of that modem remains a mystery. We know of another Samsung in house chipset -- the Exynos Modem 333 or SS333 -- that could provide the category 6 LTE connectivity, possibly even full 3GPP connectivity.   However, for Sprint, that still leaves lingering 3GPP2 (CDMA2000). Is it provided by a second modem, meaning a third chipset? Could it be a reappearance of the notorious VIA Telecom CDMA2000 modem? S4GRU sincerely hopes not. Or maybe Qualcomm is still on board, not in the processor, but in its aforementioned Snapdragon X7 LTE (MDM9635) category 6 LTE standalone 3GPP/3GPP2 baseband, which supports the same 2x 20 MHz FDD/TDD carrier aggregation. Time will tell.   Well, that is a wrap for this set. If you are young and restless with the Samsung Galaxy S6s and HTC One M9, will you wonder what went wrong? Or will the summer of 6&9 be the best days of your mobile life?   Discuss in the comments.     Sources: FCC, Bryan Adams

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Sprint planning large network expansion adding 9,000 new LTE sites nationwide

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 2:45 PM MST   Sprint is embarking on a significant expansion of its network. The first major addition of compatible sites to its network in a decade. Past expansion has been limited to buyouts of Nextel and Clearwire, both of which included networks of different technologies. Organic growth has not been on the table for Sprint in some time. Sprint is expected to announce these plans in the not too distant future, once finalization of details and funding is complete.   Since the beginning of the year, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has hinted to this network expansion in social media and in pep talks to various Sprint employees. Some of whom have contacted S4GRU after hearing Marcelo’s vague references in meetings about the upcoming expansion. But this is the first time we have received specific information from inside Sprint.   The purpose of these 9,000 new sites is to expand coverage into new markets, add critical rural coverage where high roaming occurs, capture lost coverage from the shutdown of the old Nextel iDEN network, extend coverage to new suburban areas, and densify the network within existing coverage.   This plan is very targeted by market and includes a significant capital spend investment. The affected areas are seen as critical to Sprint for future growth and reduction of operating expenses in key roaming areas.   With the useable area of Sprint’s low frequency spectrum in the SMR 800 band about to expand even to the border areas, thus allowing nationwide coverage, the buildout of new markets and new rural areas has never been more practical or obtainable to Sprint. Allowing for new areas to have a less tight buildout requirement in site density in small towns and along highways and increase signal strength indoors in cities. The new management of Sprint sees this as the point at which they can move forward and accomplish these once seemingly lofty goals.   The juicy details   S4GRU recently received some details of the project from an internal Sprint source, speaking off the record. The current details of the plan breakdown as follows: 1,100 - Decommissioned iDEN sites converted for new Sprint CDMA/LTE coverage and increased density in some key under served areas (Dualband and Triband) 1,600 – New coverage expansion sites targeting high roaming areas and key identified market expansion areas (Dualband and Triband) 800 – New Dualband sites in exurban and new suburban areas places with new or projected population growth 500 – New Triband sites in Urban and Suburban areas to infill coverage where 1900 and 2600 currently do not reach or reach well and 800 capacity would also be improved 5,000 – New Urban and Suburban TDD-LTE 2600 “Spark” only sites infilling existing coverages for better signal quality, indoor performance, and capacity. It is not known the mix of macro sites and small cell sites. One exciting part of this addition to S4GRU is capturing decommissioned iDEN sites. This is something that we have long advocated. In a takeoff I did of the iDEN sites back in 2012, I estimated that Sprint needed only approximately 1,000 of the iDEN sites to equalize coverage for the CDMA/LTE network and densify some critical areas of some lacking markets. Like Baton Rouge and Grand Rapids. Perhaps decision makers at Sprint read S4GRU after all? I am happy to see my estimate was quite close to theirs.   Interestingly, there is no mention of Clearwire only sites that are in good locations for Sprint to expand or densify Network Vision CDMA and LTE. Not to mention also the 700+ Clearwire Protection Sites. Many of which are in places Sprint does not currently offer service. Like my corner of the Dakotas.   Project Ocean   In addition to this new Expansion Project, Sprint also already has two existing projects under way for targeted regional expansion based on recent acquisition. In Missouri and Central Illinois, Sprint is working on Project Ocean, which involves adding more than 100 former U.S. Cellular sites. Some of these sites are already online with many more coming online within the next 6-8 months.   The bulk of these adds are in Suburban St. Louis. However, there are a couple dozen rural USCC sites that are also being captured in the Project Ocean program. Sites where demographics are supportive to expansion or high roaming costs make the additional sites worthwhile.   Project Cedar   A thousand miles to the northwest, Sprint is embarking on Project Cedar in Montana. A plan to add 230 sites to the Sprint network in the Treasure State. Sprint purchased the defunct network assets from Chinook Wireless back in August of 2014. Chinook Wireless operated their service under the Cellular One name in Montana. Project Cedar takes the Chinook Wireless decommissioned sites and adds Network Vision DualBand and TriBand sites in their place.   We assume Project Cedar is being done by Samsung, as past geographic maps from Sprint show this area to be Samsung. There was a Field Implementation Test (FIT) for LTE Band 26 (SMR 800MHz) done by Samsung in Montana back in 2013. We never did find out where in Montana this FIT was conducted, and it may even be live for commercial traffic now. S4GRU members travelling in Montana, be on the look out for B26 LTE signals and new Samsung equipment being installed.   In my cursory review, it appears that the footprint offered by Chinook would have been served by 120-140 sites at best using PCS 1900 spacing. Since Sprint is looking to do 90-110 more than that, it’s possible Sprint could be extending service well into the Dakotas and Wyoming under this project. Beyond the reach of the old Cellular One coverage area.   I could see them covering all the Chinook coverage plus I-25, I-90, I-94 in Wyoming and the Dakotas as well as Casper, Gillette, Rapid City, Pierre, Williston and Bismarck with 230 sites. Heck, convert Swiftel’s 50 sites in Eastern South Dakota while you’re at it! Swiftel is a sore subject with us, and we will save that for another day.   Funding and implementation   According to the source, Project Ocean and Project Cedar are already funded. The additional 8,000 site expansion with unknown project name has funding earmarked for its planning and initial start. However funding sources and final scope are being worked out. It is likely Sprint will make no comment on the matter until these last two items are resolved probably next quarter.   However, Sprint is already moving on initial planning and key sites as they come available. No good opportunity will be lost during the planning process. And maybe there are some more regional plans in play?  

S4GRU

S4GRU

BYOD FTW! Sprint to allow Apple Devices from other Providers on to their network

. UPDATE, Thursday, March 12, 2015 11:40 AM MDT: BYOAD is back. Follow this link for new article: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-384-take-two-sprint-offers-byod-for-apple-devices/   UPDATE, Saturday, December 20, 2014 12:15 PM MST: I have received a message that Sprint is postponing this until further notice. Hopefully it will be instituted soon. . . by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, December 19, 2014 - 4:40 PM MST   As most of you are aware, Sprint does not allow devices from other providers on their network. If you want to become a Sprint customer and bring a device with you, the answer has pretty much been no, with only a handful of limited exceptions. No matter how compatible the existing device is with the Sprint network. You had to buy a phone from Sprint or bring a Sprint activated phone with you. Well now there is a big change coming.   Sprint is about to open up their network to other Apple devices not purchased directly from Sprint. This marks a significant change in course for Sprint. Initially it will only be for a few Apple devices that were purchased from Apple or Best Buy. But based on the content of a Sprint memo to retailers posted below, Sprint is open to the idea of expanding the list of Apple devices in the future, as well as Apple devices purchased from other sources. Maybe even unlocked from other providers down the road.   Although we are not certain of the timelines involved, we are told this is starting immediately. Not sure if that means tomorrow or next week. But it is happening. It is currently limited to just the iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 only. We assume it will be allowed for existing account holders as well as those opening new accounts, as there is no mention of that limitation. However, the biggest limitation will be Sprint Spark compatibility, as Apple devices for other providers tend to not support LTE Band 41. Also, not all Sprint plans will allow "BYOAD" and we currently do not know which plans are blacklisted.   Sprint has been at a disadvantage in not allowing unlocked compatible devices on their network. AT&T and T-Mobile both allow customers to bring in a device from other providers if they are compatible and unlocked. Although most devices from Sprint's competitors are not compatible with the Sprint network, there are some notable exceptions.   Although this will create some headaches for Sprint in managing these devices, we hope this is a new era toward an open device ecosystem. And in this case, to block possible customers from buying your service just didn't make much sense. Thank you Marcelo. We like the changes. And can we interest you in some more from our Laundry List?    

S4GRU

S4GRU

Cellular Cornucopia: A Sort of Sprint Holiday Shopping Guide

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, November 14, 2014 - 7:46 AM MST   'Tis the season for turkey and tablets, pumpkin pie and "phablets." So, whet your appetites, and get ready for a movable feast -- or should I say, a mobile feast.   Welcome to the first annual S4GRU holiday shopping guide. This may be nothing more than a one year tradition. We shall see. But we have definitely fallen behind this fall on publishing articles following FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorizations of notable devices headed to or at least compatible with the Sprint network.   Playing catch up, here is a quick rundown on the RF capabilities of the Motorola Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy Edge, and cellular variant HTC Nexus 9 -- all of which have passed through the FCC OET and been released in the past few weeks or are to be released in the next few weeks.   Not the purview of S4GRU, but all of the processor, RAM, screen resolution, and other specs are already out there on the Interwebs. If you need that info, refer to those sources. Thus, these brief looks at two "phablets" and one cellular tablet will be focused on their tested/projected RF performance -- particularly as that pertains to the Sprint network.   To begin, the Motorola Nexus 6 ends up being the first fully CCA/RRPP compliant LTE handset -- supporting domestic LTE bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 -- and, for good measure, adding in LTE bands 7/13/17 for use in Canada, on VZW, and on AT&T. S4GRU first reported that CCA/RRPP band abundance of the supposed Sprint variant 2014 Motorola X a few months ago, but for unknown reasons, that handset never saw the light of day after it passed through the FCC OET. Its Motorola brother, which suffers from the hormonal disorder gigantism, though, picks up that slack and then some.   Yes, the Nexus 6 represents a gigantic increase in size and price -- a curious decision if there ever was one. But it does appear to hold up its very large end of the bargain in RF prowess, maxing out in the roughly the 20-26 dBm range across all supported LTE bands. That is pretty good performance, particularly for band 41, which appears to enjoy an approximately 3 dBi antenna gain. This projects to be the strong performer that many had hoped for based on Motorola's RF reputation.   Next up, the Samsung Galaxy Edge is truly on the cutting edge. And that refers not to just its curvy edged screen form factor. It is the first North American handset to support band 41 carrier aggregation. See the FCC OET filing table below:     In fact, it is the first North American handset known to support LTE TDD carrier aggregation and intra band LTE carrier aggregation -- rather than inter band carrier aggregation, as we have seen in several AT&T variant handsets this year. That said, it is limited to two carrier aggregation with a maximum total bandwidth of 40 MHz TDD. Three carrier aggregation devices with a maximum total bandwidth of 60 MHz TDD will not make an appearance until sometime next year.   And that is basically the good news. The rest of the news is not as good. The Galaxy Edge supports none of the additional CCA/RRPP bands -- not even bands 2/5, which are just subsets of bands 25/26, respectively. Moreover, the LTE ERP/EIRP is not very impressive. Fortunately, it looks hardly as poor in that regard as last year's VZW variant Galaxy Note 3 -- maybe the worst that we have ever seen in a flagship caliber smartphone -- but it averages just 17-20 dBm max output across bands 25/26/41. And, for reference, that runs about 2-3 dB worse than that of its recent Sprint variant Galaxy Note 4 sibling.   The news could be worse, however. To conclude, just look at the cellular variant HTC Nexus 9 tablet. On the bright side, it, too, is a fully CCA/RRPP compliant device -- bands 2/4/5/12/25/26/41 -- also adding bands 7/13/17 like its Nexus 6 cousin. That band 12 tablet inclusion trumps even all Apple iPads for likely the next year. But the bright side does not extend beyond that in terms of actual RF.   Originally, Google proclaimed the Nexus 9 to be a 3GPP/3GPP2 device. Since then, Google has pared that back to a 3GPP only device -- with the odd inclusion of EV-DO. The latter is almost assuredly yet another proofreading error, as the FCC OET authorization docs show no support for 3GPP2. Furthermore, reports are that the Nexus 9 uses a non Qualcomm baseband modem. Not good -- especially for a device that now rivals the iPad in price.   For those who want the shorthand explanation, the cellular variant Nexus 9 looks to be compatible with Sprint -- but only Sprint LTE. It will have no support for Sprint CDMA2000. Additionally, the ERP/EIRP leaves much, much to be desired, averaging only 15-19 dBm maximum across all LTE bands. We generally expect more from antenna design in tablets because of their added size. However, that is certainly not the case with the Nexus 9.   In summation, if you are making your shopping list, checking it twice, everything new in the Sprint stocking this holiday season is at least partly naughty, nothing entirely nice. Too big, too expensive, too focused on form over function, and/or too weak RF. Take your pick.   Happy Thanksgiving? Or Bah Humbug?   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

800 Reasons in South Florida why Sprint is further delayed to deploy LTE on 800MHz

by Kristofer Maki Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 11:00 AM MDT   With great patience comes great reward. And with all the waiting that Sprint customers in South Florida have been doing lately, many are wishing it will pay off in spades, and soon. Indeed, I am referring to the 800MHz spectrum embargo that is still occurring in South Florida today.   If you aren’t aware of the background of the issue, fret not, I will cover the background in detail so you are aware of what it entails. By the end of this article, my goal is to hope you understand a bit more about the current impasse with the ability to release B26 LTE (LTE 800) in South Florida, as well as give you an idea on when the blockade will eventually be lifted.   Background   It all started back in 2004, when the FCC adopted a resolution to completely reorganize the 800MHz SMR band. The FCC was quoted in saying that the plan was to, “Migrate Incompatible Technologies to separate segments of the band.” [1] The purpose of the reorganization was to alleviate interference with public safety agencies within the Sprint-Nextel coverage areas. The final plan ended up placing the public safety agencies within the 806-815/851-860MHz range and Sprint Nextel within the 817-824/862-869 MHz range. In between the ranges is an Expansion Band of 1MHz (for future use of Public Safety Agencies as need grows) and a Guard Band of 1MHz (To place a buffer in between two-way/trunked and cellular frequencies). For a visual of the band see the image below.   [1]     The original plan also provided a three year time frame for the changes to take effect. The plan was slated to start on June 27, 2005 and finish by June 26, 2008. Sprint was also obligated to pay for any reasonable costs associated with the transition of any license holder within the 800MHz band that was relocating to a new frequency. Finally the plan provided the creation of an independent agency to oversee all financial and technical specifics of the transition between the licensees, Sprint, and the FCC. This agency is called the 800MHz Transition Administrator.   But wait, it’s October 2014! Wasn’t this all supposed to be completed by the end of June 2008? What gives?   FCC Extends Rebanding beyond initial 3 years   The short and sweet answer to that question is the FCC realized that the initial time frame wasn’t long enough to deploy the complicated communications systems, so the FCC ordered a process for filing waivers (Extensions to exceed the initial deadline).   I requested comment from Miami-Dade County on the issue and they stated, “The first waiver extension was ordered by the FCC across all agencies in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico since it became obvious that the deadline was not realistic.”   Many agencies have applied to extend their deadlines, so many in fact that the Transition Administrator had set up a section of their web site dedicated to waiver requests. Some of the reasons that deadlines were extended were due to issues with obtaining costs estimates, finding compatible hardware, and even some agencies just not sure with what hardware they were wanting to transition to.   The additional delays with Miami-Dade County   Now let’s consider the issue in particular of Miami-Dade County and all of South Florida. I was interested in their side of the story. I wanted to know more about what issues may have risen from the deployment process, and if there were any other issues initially foreseen that would cause a delay with the deployment to the new communications systems. So I took to my email. I sent requests out for comment from both sides of the spectrum. I contacted Sprint and Miami-Dade County on the issues and received quite the plethora of information.   In an email interview, I asked Miami-Dade County for comment on the issues that have implicated the deployments of their transitioning to the new 800MHz frequencies.   “Miami Dade County has the largest and busiest public safety radio system in the entire State of Florida.  With more than 90 million transmissions a year being generated by over 30,000 subscriber radios and with over 100 local, state, and federal agencies operating on the network, the planning and deployment process to install equipment at 11 radio sites and physically touch 30,000 subscriber radios with their own independent radio personalities, is critical and complex in nature.” States Rey Valdez, Major with the Communications Bureau of Miami Dade Police Department.   He continues to comment, “The first of two large 800 MHz systems was deployed within schedule and budget December, 2012.  The second large system services law enforcement primarily was scheduled to be deployed by April 2014. The County encountered issues with the factory code of the radios and dispatch consoles that required to have more than 16,000 radios on the law enforcement system retouched.  As a result, the logistical process to coordinate with thousands of radio users had to be repeated for the entire base and in some cases, small pockets of radio users had to be retouched a third time.”   In the most recent waiver request, Miami-Dade County requested until January 21, 2015 to complete the migration to the new frequencies. Sprint “Partially” opposed the extension, stating that the licensee has had since 2005 to complete its requirements. They requested that Miami-Dade relinquish all of the frequencies by October 2014. The FCC held in abeyance the request, pending additional information from Miami-Dade County. There was no other data provided on the FCC’s website stating what information was found, or if the waiver date was even granted. After doing some more searching around, I found on the Transition Administrators site that Miami-Dade County was granted the waiver date of January 21, 2015.   I asked if they had any pending issues that would withhold the agency being able to meet the deadline and Major Rey Valdez stated, “Miami-Dade County has successfully migrated 40% of all the users in the law enforcement system as of September 30, 2014 with the rest of the users migrating over incrementally before January 21, 2015.” He continued to explain that, “Barring a natural disaster such as the landfall of a major hurricane, we do not foresee any other issue that would prevent us from meeting out commitment with the waiver request for January 21, 2015.”   This is great news that hopefully we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! When asking Sprint for comment, they declined until an official news release was given on the issue. No date or timeframe was given.   So here’s to hoping that South Florida has another quiet year for tropical weather activity so Miami-Dade may peacefully and prudently finish their radio re-banding. Considering the size and scope of the project, it is more than understandable that having to touch over 30,000 subscriber units can take time and burn through resources.   Just a few more months, with an eye to the sky   We are hoping that we should be able to see B26 LTE (800MHz LTE) sometime around the beginning of next year here around South Florida. It does, in fact, affect a large area of South Florida, from the Florida Keys, all the way up to about 30 Miles north of Okeechobee, FL. Covering about an 80 mile radius around the perimeter of Miami-Dade County. It’s easy to guess which areas are affected by the, “Frequency Embargo” by checking out the B26 Sites Accepted Map & Discussion in the S4GRU Premier Sponsors Thread.   You can read more about the 800Mhz Transition by visiting http://www.800ta.org. Special thanks to the Miami-Dade Police Department-Communications Division for their comments on the issue.   Cheers!

S4GRU

S4GRU

Sprint's Galaxy Note 4 "All you need is scented candles, massage oil, and Barry White. Write that down."

by Cedric Owens Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, October 3, 2014 - 2:30 PM MDT   A year ago, S4GRU brought you a great breakdown article titled after the Three Dog Night hit - "One is the loneliest number". Unfortunately, this great article brought news that none of us Sprint Samsung phablet owners wanted to hear. One band of LTE. "No Tri-band For You!"   Well, Samsung and Sprint officially announced on September 3, 2014 that the wait for the "King of Phablets" having Sprint Spark was finally over. Okay, maybe not over, but a little over a month away.   So with the announcement from Apple September 9th, 2014, that they are getting into the phablet market with the iPhone 6 Plus and with the rumored announcement from Google and Motorola about a 5.92" beast of their own on the horizon, does the Sprint variant of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 have enough to remain on top of the throne?   Let's take a look at what was found over at the good ol' FCC Office of Engineering & Technology for FCC ID: A3LSMN910P.   Three Bands Short of Being One of Your Favorite CCA/RRPP Rock Concerts   If you were hoping for band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 12 LTE 700 and band 17 LTE 700, you're going to have to find a new rock tour to follow for a fully compliant Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP) device.   Sprint announced March 26, 2014, that they were moving to include CCA band support on devices by end of the year, but the Note 4 missed the mark this time around. One would have thought that that would have included the Note 4, but just as last year when Sprint made the announcement about Sprint Spark in every device going forward and Samsung went rogue, it appears they are deciding to do the same this year with bands 4, 12 and 17.   Without these additional LTE bands, Note 4 Sprint customers may be limited in the amount of pseudo native coverage gained when Sprint's CCA LTE roaming starts to go live, in the places where bands 25/26/41 are not present. So the "King of Phablets" will once again be missing out on something that "America's Newest Network" is offering. This Note 4 is capable of using LTE deployed on Band 2 and 5 though, if some of these members are using that spectrum. So the news is not the best for Sprint LTE roaming with CCA partners, but it is "Note"worthy that it will still be able to pick up bands 25/26/41 that their RRPP partners are overlaying on their own networks.   Back in July, S4GRU's own Robert went into more detail of the CCA/RRPP Partnerships   ERP/EIRP numbers to help anticipate RF performance   Below find the maximum ERP/EIRP Numbers for the LTE Bands relevant to the Sprint variant:   Band 25 5 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.45dBm 20 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.75dBm 15 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.78dBm 10 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 22.58dBm 3 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 22.09dBm 1.4 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 21.27dBm Band 26 5 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.89dBm 10 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.92dBm 3 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.96dBm 1.4 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.54dBm Band 41 (Spark) 20 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.44dBm 15 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.84dBm 10 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.52dBm 5 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 22.69dBm NOTE: This is using the better antenna, on the best channel in the band, and with robust QPSK modulation. Although Sprint currently does not use B25 1.4MHz, 3MHz, 10MHz, 15MHz or 20MHz channels, nor B26 1.4MHz, 3MHz or 10MHz channels, nor B41 5, 10 or 15MHz channels, they were included for interest as it is plausible that Sprint could use these in the future at some point.   Simultaneous Voice/Data, VoLTE, Domestic WiFi Calling and Carrier Aggregation   No... (Enough said)       The Wrap-up   After deciphering through all the FCC data, the released specifications and considering the phablet options out there... So what's my take? I give it a "Kanye Shrug". The EIRP results indicate that Band 25 and Band 41 are what's to be expected, and Band 26 is surprising less robust. One caveat though is that the Band 25 EIRP numbers are similar to the Note II, so we'll have to wait for real world results before making the final verdict on RF performance.   The Note series may no longer be the beast of a device it used to be. Apple has released a very competitive device in this category. Google/Motorola are supposedly releasing a 5.92" Nexus phablet and who are you trying to fool LG, HTC and Samsung with these flagship device screen sizes you all have been releasing lately?   At one point the Note series offered something you couldn't get on other devices, including Samsung, but it's now clear that Samsung intends to release its flagship device every Spring and if you want it in a bigger size, you'll have to wait until the Fall.   So, here's to another year of waiting for the "latest and greatest" Samsung Galaxy Note to catch up to the latest and greatest network from Sprint. *Cough* Carrier Aggregation *Cough*   Thanks everyone for reading my 1st Wall article. Hope you enjoyed it.   Additional Specs   Model: SM-N910P Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 APQ8084 RAM: 3GB Rear Facing Camera: 16-megapixel with Optical Image Stabilization (Take that iPhone 6 Plus) Front Facing Camera: 3.7-megapixel (Selfie Heaven)   Sources FCC Sprint.com

COZisBack

COZisBack

Marcelo declares A New Day For Sprint and changes Band 41 priorities

. by Seth Goodwin Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 11:20 AM MDT   Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure has only been on the job for 3-1/2 weeks, but dramatic changes have already been made. Claure took part in Goldman Sachs 23rd Annual Communacopia Conference this morning in New York City. During the course of an approximately 35 minute onstage interview, Claure’s strategy for Sprint going forward was publicized for the first time.   Claure started by noting the advice he received as a first time CEO of a publicly traded company was “don’t make any changes for the first 100 days.” He continued “I just couldn't help myself. On day 4 we changed everything we do from the time we go to market.” In his first meeting with Sprint’s vice presidents in Overland Park, Claure asked a simple question. Why would anyone buy a Sprint phone?   The question itself was somewhat rhetorical. As Claure noted to the audience “really there wasn't really any compelling value proposition [at Sprint]." He noted that Sprint was more expensive than some of their competitors while still “coming out of a pretty traumatic network experience.” As to Framily, Claure discussed that even he himself had a hard time understanding how the plan worked, and was less than thrilled that “We were marketing with a hamster talking to people."   The Way Forward   Insight into Claure’s strategy can be traced back to his time at Brightstar. Over a 15 year period, Marcelo transformed a company from selling cellphones out of the trunk of his car in Miami, to a full scale cellular logistics corporation with over $10 billion in revenue in 2013. This entrepreneurial spirit and underdog mentality is what he is seeking to replicate at Sprint.   Plans   In the wake of complicated plans and the success of family share plans at Verizon and AT&T, Claure identified this as Sprint’s first target. Within his first four days on the job, Sprint’s post-paid plan offerings were drastically overhauled. He emphasized Sprint’s commitment to match or beat AT&T and Verizon on price as well as surpassing them by doubling the data offered on comparable competitor’s plans. By the end of Week 1, a competitive individual plan was also released.   By essentially concentrating plan offerings to two simple to understand plans, Claure sees the ability to market and sell these plans to consumers being easier going forward. He told store employees forget about the rule book “just go out there and be an entrepreneur… It is incredible when you empower your employees and allow them to be entrepreneurs the type of things that start to happen.”   Network   Claure is aware of the importance of the network. He specifically noted that he monitors network performance daily. Even with that, he is optimistic about where he's taking Sprint into the future. “The network is our product…We provide connectivity and the network needs to be good in order for customers to come.” He also was gracious towards what former CEO Dan Hesse had already accomplished on the network side before leaving. “He made a pretty bold move,” Claure said. “We basically went and did a whole rip and replace of our network.”   Marcelo noted that most of the network hardware replacement is done. Something the S4GRU sponsor site statistics bear out. Without providing details, Claure underscored something we have been hearing out of Sprint for the past several months...that the deployment of LTE Bands 25 and 26 are being accelerated with 255 million POP's now covered by Sprint LTE.   As we have discussed on this site numerous times, Spectrum is ultimately one of Sprint’s key differentiators. “We have over 160MHz in the 2.5 band. Our majority shareholders entire secret sauce in Japan was based on their 2.5 network.” Marcelo said 60 million POP's are currently covered by Band 41 LTE. These are former Clearwire WiMax sites that have been converted to Sprint’s Spark LTE. One of the more interesting aspects of this morning’s event was the change in Sprint’s 8T8R Band 41 deployment strategy.   Marcelo elaborated, “We are going to move to a smarter model in terms of how we deploy our equipment” going forward. He discussed that when he arrived, Sprint’s plan was simply to deploy new Band 41 8T8R equipment across their over 30,000 sites. Which is essentially all their existing full build Network Vision sites. The problem with this strategy according to Claure is that this “takes us too long to be good anywhere.” The new strategy has 2.5 LTE (Band 41) deployments being concentrated in areas where the existing network is overburdened.   In the second wave of the Band 41 8T8R deployment attack, Sprint will be “going strong after a few cities...focusing on a few critical markets and deploying an experience that hasn't been seen yet in the U.S.”   Shifting the focus to areas that need the extra capacity first is strategically important. If implemented properly, getting Band 41 LTE sites deployed across all markets where they are absolutely needed for extra capacity will help make the network more usable for end users. “There is no need for us to plaster the nation with 2.5, because it is going to take too long,” Claure said. “Rather we’d like to get some wins early on.”   The Near-Term Plan   To Claure, ultimately price and the network is Sprint’s winning value proposition. He noted in the wireless industry, you can either compete on price as T-Mobile has been aggressively doing as of late, or you can compete on the quality of your network as Verizon or AT&T does. That left Sprint in a precarious position, “we were the most expensive and our network is a work in progress.” Claure added, “You are going to see us now be the value driver… And potentially in the market for a really strong advertisement network.” Claure concluded, “If you can have price and the really strong network; you have a winning value proposition."   To compete on value in the near-term, expect Sprint to aggressively counteract competitor’s moves. Claure gave the example of T-Mobile announcing a guaranteed best price on a device buyback or trade-in. Later that afternoon Sprint countered, offering to do better than T-Mobile. Sprint was in part able to make this play due synergies with Claure’s former company Brightstar, now fully owned by Softbank.   Brightstar is the largest player in the phone trade-in market in the world. Claure noted synergies between Sprint and the over 1,000 companies Softbank owns or does business with are a competitive advantage. He noted that the value proposition is Sprint’s optimal strategy at this point and concluded by saying Sprint must be the ultimate disruptor in the industry.   You can say what you want about Sprint's past. But the future is changing. It's squarely in Marcelo's hands. And he's gaining momentum.

Mr.Nuke

Mr.Nuke

And the Band 41 marches on...in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for Sprint

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 5:55 PM MDT . The news so many of our members have been eagerly awaiting...the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus occurred today. A LOT of information has been leaked out the previous weeks. More than I can ever remember from an Apple product. But some new information did come out today. And of most interest to our readers, is YES, Sprint Band 41 is supported. Welcome to Spark, our beloved iPhoniacs. Your wait for that is over.   Typically, FCC OET device articles are written by the S4GRU Technical Editor AJ Shepherd or his protege Josh McDaniel. But given tight publishing deadlines and even tighter work schedules, yours truly will take a stab at it. I pored through the Office of Engineering & Technology website to bring you these details.   A Band for everyone...well, almost   The number of LTE bands that all the new iPhone 6 variants support is staggering. Even supporting a few more than the Moto X+1 we told you about earlier today. The Sprint Model iPhone 6 (A1586) and iPhone 6 Plus (A1524) support 20 LTE bands! Including 4 TDD LTE bands, like Band 41. Sadly, all iPhone 6 variants do omit support for Band 12. So on Sprint that will limit some of the upcoming CCA rural LTE roaming (not to mention the sadness of Tmo subscribers for missing B12).   Sprint has announced that it is moving to have its devices support LTE roaming on its partner networks in the CCA and Sprint's RRPP program. The new iPhone 6s cover all these new partner bands, like B4, B5 and B17. Just missing B12. The Moto X+1 will be the first Sprint device to support B12 roaming. iPhone users will likely need to wait until next year's iPhone 6s refresh to get Band 12 access.   But the most exciting information is that the Sprint models of the new iPhone 6s both support Band 41. So now you data hungry iPhone users can start spreading your loads on the Spark network. Since the Spark network has a lot of capacity, and a lot of ability to add even more capacity (more than any other provider), the ability of iPhone users to use this band is extremely important. It may even start to alleviate some of the burden off Band 25, where many iPhone users now are stuck. But that may not be very likely as the uniband and dualband iPhones from previous years get traded in and handed down to offspring.   ERP/EIRP numbers to help anticipate RF performance   Below find the maximum ERP/EIRP Numbers for the LTE Bands relevant to the Sprint variant: Band 25 5 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 23.18dBm 3 MHZ FDD channels: max EIRP 23.07dBm 10 MHz FDD channels: max EIRP 23.14dBm [*]Band 26 5 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 19.00dBm 3 MHz FDD channels: max ERP 18.85dBm [*]Band 41 (Spark) 20 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.86dBm 15 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 32.00dBm 10 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.97dBm 5 MHz TDD channels: max EIRP 31.65dBm [*]Band 4 (Roaming) 5 MHz channel - 23.97dBm 10 MHz channel - 23.96dBm 15 MHz channel - 23.99dBm 20 MHz channel - 23.88dBm [*]Band 17 (Roaming) 5 MHz channel - 23.98dBm 10 MHz channel - 23.99dBm NOTE: This is using the better antenna, on the best channel in the band, and with robust QPSK modulation. Although Sprint currently does not use B25 3MHz or 10MHz channels, nor B26 3MHz channels, nor B41 5, 10 or 15MHz channels, they were included for interest as it is plausible that Sprint could use these in the future at some point.   Simultaneous Voice/Data and VoLTE   As always, a hot question is whether the Sprint variants of the iPhone 6 support simultaneous voice and data. And the answer is...no. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus do not support simultaneous voice on CDMA2000 networks. So neither the Verizon nor Sprint variant can do simultaneous voice and data using CDMA1X voice. Just like the previous CDMA2000 iPhone models.   The Verizon version will support simultaneous voice and data on VoLTE. Verizon is just beginning to deploy its VoLTE network. Sprint will not begin deploying VoLTE (Voice over LTE) until mid-2015 at the earliest. It is not known if the Sprint variant can receive a software update in the future to enable VoLTE on Sprint iPhone 6 and 6 Plus when Sprint VoLTE starts to go live next year. In the mean time, Sprint iPhone users will only be able to use voice and data at the same time over Wi-Fi.   Carrier Aggregation/LTE Advanced Support   And the last point to cover is Carrier Aggregation. Yes, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus do support Carrier Aggregation (an LTE Advanced feature). However, this new iPhone is only limited to 20 MHz total aggregation.   So the iPhone 6 can aggregate two 5 MHz channels (5+5). And it can aggregate two 10 MHz channels (10+10). However, the total of the downlink channels cannot be greater than 20 MHz. So the iPhone 6 cannot bond two 15 MHz channels or do a 20+20 combination (because these exceed 20 MHz total downlink).   Since Sprint is only deploying Carrier Aggregation (LTE Advanced) to its Band 41 (Spark) network at this time, the iPhone 6 cannot handle that. This is due to Sprint currently only deploying B41 in wideband 20 MHz carrier widths. So the minimum two carriers being aggregated for Sprint would be 40 MHz wide, far exceeding the capability of the iPhone 6. The same is true of Verizon and T-Mobile wideband channels. They cannot do Carrier Aggregation on the iPhone 6 either on wideband. Of the big four, only AT&T currently has no wideband LTE carriers (i.e. none that exceed 10 MHz).   Conclusion   The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer some pretty good ERP/EIRP numbers for Sprint customers, especially in Band 41 Spark. We expect some good and meaningful RF field results from our members soon. With Sprint announcing a new unlimited plan to lease a new iPhone 6 (16GB) for only $50 per month, some people are going to find a Sprint iPhone model irresistible.   And, as always, you can already start making your wish list for the presumed iPhone 6S next September. For wireless network enthusiasts like us, 40 MHz or 60 MHz Carrier Aggregation in Band 41 and support for Band 12 are at the top of most of our lists.   Oh yeah, and there was something about a wristwatch...   Source: FCC           EDIT: Removed Carrier Aggregation limitation of equal sized channels............................................

S4GRU

S4GRU

Teaser: "X" marks the spot for the first Sprint CCA/RRPP fully compliant handset

by Andrew J. Shepherd Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 12:21 PM MDT   As many of you know, Sprint recently established a partnership with members of the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) as sort of a quid pro quo. This partnership is called the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP), and S4GRU wrote about the nascent RRPP in a recent article on The Wall.   In a nutshell, Sprint will gain pseudo native LTE coverage outside of its standard footprint, as RRPP members overlay Sprint's PCS 1900 MHz, SMR 800 MHz, and even BRS/EBS 2600 MHz spectrum on their existing networks. In turn, RRPP members will get access to Sprint's LTE footprint, and maybe even more importantly for many of these small scale operators, they will benefit from Sprint's and SoftBank's economy of scale in device procurement.   Going forward, Sprint will create a device ecosystem that supports not only its native CDMA2000 band classes and LTE bands but also its RRPP partner LTE bands, namely band 2 LTE 1900, band 4 LTE 1700+2100, band 5 LTE 850, and band 12 LTE 700. The Nexus 5 almost pulled off that quadruple play last year, but that last LTE band has been a sticky wicket for CCA members, since AT&T was able to get its boutique band 17 LTE 700 pushed through the 3GPP. It left many CCA members that hold Lower 700 MHz A block licenses out in the cold, as they lacked access to some of the most popular devices created by the AT&T economy of scale.   Today, that changes. Trumping a presumed iPhone reveal in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) later this afternoon, Motorola unleashed the authorization documents this morning for the IHDT56QA3, the third variant of the 2014 Moto X to pass through the FCC OET. The big takeaway, as indicated in the title of this article, is that this Moto X with the expected model number XT1092 is the first Sprint/CCA/RRPP fully compliant LTE handset -- even if an iPhone variant possibly joins the group here in the next few hours.   In conclusion for this short Teaser, the FCC OET docs can speak for themselves. This table tells the whole LTE story for Sprint and its RRPP partners.     We wanted to bring you the scoop as soon as possible, but stay tuned. S4GRU may expand this article as more information is gleaned from the FCC OET docs or becomes available elsewhere.   Source: FCC

WiWavelength

WiWavelength

Teaser: That Aquos Crystal is SHARP. Take the edge off.

by Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Monday, August 18, 2014 - 8:14 AM MDT   [update] Sprint has announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal which confirms our findings and theories this certified device is indeed the Sharp Aquos Crystal.   While rummaging through recent FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorizations on a hot evening in late July, S4GRU staff noticed a curious new entry. It was a smartphone that supports the full spectrum of tri band LTE for Sprint Spark and, of course, CDMA2000 capabilities for native and roaming CDMA1X/EV-DO networks. However, tri band LTE has become commonplace among Sprint handsets over the past year. That was not the interesting part.   Rather, what was most intriguing about this entry was the manufacturer: SHARP CORPORATION.   Sharp, as a cell phone maker, is almost non existent in the North American market. Sharp doesn't even come across the public's mind when people think of an Android smartphone, but here it was -- confusing and exciting at the same time. S4GRU staff raised numerous questions and theories on what exact device it was until just a few hours ago when Sharp, along with SoftBank JPN, announced the Aquos Crystal smartphone in Japan. Additionally, tomorrow August 19th in New York, Sprint is holding a "Take the Edge Off" event, which S4GRU has been covering in The Forums since around the time of the FCC OET filing discovery late last month. How could both developments not be connected?   The FCC authorization documents for this Sharp smartphone show a cross section diagram and diagonal of 14.5 cm that measure extremely close to that of the 5.0" display model, making it highly likely that this mystery Sharp smartphone is indeed the recently announced Aquos Crystal smartphone.     The Japanese version is being released on August 29th. Below are its specs:   Dimensions: 67 mm x 131 mm x 10 mm Weight: 140 g OS: Android 4.4.2 SoC: MSM8926 1.2 GHz (Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad core) Display: 1280 x 720 (LCD) ROM: 8 GB, expandable to 128 GB (mSDXC) RAM: 1.5 GB NFC compatible SoftBank LTE FDD * AXGP (i.e. LTE TDD band 41)   For the Sprint variant, the FCC OET docs make no mention of hardware (e.g. processor, display, memory), as that is not the RF purview of the FCC. But the hardware specs are likely to be the same as those of Japanese version, the primary differences being the band/band class support for Sprint. And below is a cursory look at the Sprint variant maximum ERP/EIRP figures: LTE FDD band 25 (LTE 1900): 25.82 dBm LTE FDD band 26 (LTE 800): 19.72 dBm LTE TDD band 41 (TD-LTE 2600): 25.43 dBm CDMA2000 band class 0 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 850): 18.62 dBm CDMA2000 band class 1 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 1900): 23.28 dBm CDMA2000 band class 10 (CDMA1X/EV-DO 800): 18.98 dBm It's nice to see Sharp coming back into the game in the North American market, and what better way to do so then by taking the edge off and using it to cut into the competition. Sources: FCC SoftBank JPN Pictures Sprint

lilotimz

lilotimz

Sprint purportedly giving up on T-Mobile acquisition and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse to leave company

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 5:30 PM MDT   The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are reporting this evening that Sprint will announce tomorrow morning that it will stop pursuing a purchase of T-Mobile USA.   Furthermore, according to these leaks to financial media, it is also anticipated that Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will leave Sprint and his replacement will be named. The combination of the two companies was already cast as dubious by many because of the perceived reduction in competition in the American wireless landscape. CNBC stated that the final straw was the FCC decision last week not to allow Sprint and T-Mobile to jointly bid for spectrum in the 600MHz auction. It was seen that this move by the FCC was indicative of the Feds lack of tolerance of a combined entity.   We will add to the rumors by wondering aloud if Nikesh Arora will be named the new Sprint CEO. Arora recently was announced to be leaving Google as Chief Business Officer for a new position at SoftBank. Could this have been a play to move him to Sprint all along? UPDATE: Later into the evening, more sources have outed Marcelo Claure as the heir apparent to Dan Hesse. Claure is best known as the majority owner of Brightstar and already serves on Sprint's Board.   Stay tuned as more information is obtained!   S4GRU Members are discussing this in our forums: http://s4gru.com/index.php?/topic/6013-sprint-reportedly-bowing-out-of-t-mobile-bid/?p=346787   EDIT: Added CNBC info at 5:55 PM MDT, Added Arora conjecture at 6:10 PM MDT. Added infor regarding Marcelo Claude at 8:15 PM PDT.   Sources: Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC

S4GRU

S4GRU

LG G3 4G: It's a G thang.

by Josh McDaniel and Tim Yu Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 11:59 PM MDT   On June 5, 2014, LG received FCC OET approval for the LG LS990, otherwise known to handset consumers as the Sprint variant LG G3. Then, just two weeks later, on June 19, the device received a Class II Permissive Change filing that appears to show slightly improved radio capabilities.   The LG G3 has a strong spec/feature list: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974 Android 4.4.2 KitKat 5.5” QHD display (1440 x 2560 pixel resolution) 3 GB RAM 13 MP back camera 2.1 MP front camera 32 GB internal storage 64 GB microSD support As expected, the FCC docs show that this phone does not support SVDO nor SVLTE, as it is a tri-band, single radio handset. It does include support for Wi-Fi calling. Unfortunately, LG didn’t include the antenna diagram with this flagship, opting to make that diagram a permanently confidential item.   Included in the documentation is also the testing certification for QI wireless charging, which has become prevalent on many flagship devices. Though it is not included in the actual retail device, which comes with a standard non wireless charging back cover, a wireless charging cover is apt to be available for retail sales soon after release of the handset.   On LTE, the G3 supports the following carrier bandwidths: Band 25 3/5/10 MHz FDD Band 26 1.4/3/5/10 MHz FDD Band 41 10/15/20 MHz TDD Radiated power levels for each LTE band show middle of the road performance, lower than that of some of the mid-range tri-band LTE devices available and/or coming to the market. For review, here is a summary of the radiated power levels: CDMA BC0 (850) 21.03 dBm CDMA BC1 (1900) 23.08 dBm CDMA BC10 (800) 22.75 dBm LTE Band 25 (1900) 21.28 - 22.9 dBm LTE Band 26 (800) 17.49 - 20.51 dBm LTE Band 41 (2500/2600) 20.37 - 22.87 dBm While the publicly available FCC docs do not include the aforementioned antenna diagram, they do divulge the peak antenna gain structures for each of the supported bands/band classes. For best RF performance in an internal antenna flagship smartphone, we expect to see around -4 dBi for below 1 GHz, around 1 dBi for 1-2 GHz, and around 3 dBi for above 2 GHz. In those regards, the LG G3 is a disappointment, and that may account for its middling radiated power levels. For reference, below is the peak antenna gain table:   But as always these don't show the whole story as some devices that show higher power level actually perform worse than those which show lower power levels. It varies by device but it is an unknown until users run thorough tests against the previous LG G2 flagship and other flagships (Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, etc.).   The LG G3 was announced to be in stores starting July 18, 2014, but in a surprise move by Sprint, it was launched July 11, the same day that AT&T launched its LG G3 variant.   Sources: Android Authority Phone Arena FCC OET FCC OET C2PC

MacinJosh

MacinJosh

Sprint is proceeding with a VoLTE network that focuses on interoperability with Domestic and International VoLTE carriers

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 5:30 PM MDT   Hold the phones! One day, you won’t have to worry about holding the phones as Sprint moves to VoLTE for its voice telephone services. That is because VoLTE (Voice over LTE) will allow customers to do a voice call and LTE data simultaneously. S4GRU is now able to confirm that Sprint is proceeding with Voice over LTE based on detailed information from an anonymous Sprint executive. He was able to confirm some of their plans for the transition to VoLTE for voice.   In recent months, Sprint has been quite mum about moving to voice over its LTE network. Maybe even a bit misleading about it. Causing some to believe they may not even move to VoLTE at all. Public quotes from Sprint have reiterated that CDMA will carry its voice needs for the foreseeable future and not being in any rush about going to VoLTE like all their competitors have proclaimed. And based on this new information S4GRU recently obtained, it will certainly not be rushed.   But Sprint is moving forward with a solid VoLTE plan that will see the lion share of its voice usage move to LTE. This is a relief to some S4GRU members, as they have been getting anxious as they hear other providers publicly extol their upcoming VoLTE networks. We will discuss some details of the plan as they were shared with us.   The Sprint VoLTE plan   Currently, Sprint is in the programming phase of VoLTE. This includes all the design criteria and functionality that can and should be included in their VoLTE system. This includes discussion and feedback from device and network OEM’s about feasibility and hardware support. When this programming phase completes this summer, it will then proceed with an FIT (Field Implementation Testing) phase.   During the FIT, they will be able to discover any issues and bugs that need to be worked out before OEM’s start mass producing equipment and VoLTE is instituted nationwide on the Sprint LTE network. Sprint VoLTE FIT’s are planned to be in Kansas, Greater Chicago (Illinois) and Virginia. Key roaming partners will participate to ensure interoperability.   An opening up of the VoLTE network to customers will be in a future implementation phase that is yet to be scheduled. The schematic schedule would have that be in Mid 2015, but it could be sooner if everything goes well in the wrap up of Phase 1, the FIT and the availability in the device ecosystem is realized.   Key Points   Sprint is proceeding with incorporating VoLTE into its network to capitalize on the following advantages: To support both domestic and global roaming for its customers and customers of other VoLTE providers Reducing the CDMA network (capacity, not coverage) by removing most of the voice burden to allow for spectrum refarming for additional LTE carriers (capacity) VoLTE will allow HD Voice to be interoperable with several other providers by using the 3GPP EVS (Enhanced Voice Service) codec and integrating other networks together Additionally, here are some details about how Sprint will implement VoLTE: The Sprint VoLTE network will be designed to hand off calls to the existing Sprint CDMA network, including HD Voice calls, via the EVRC-NW codec EVS codec standardization may not be achieved by the time Sprint starts deploying a VoLTE network. They will use AMR-WB and EVRC-NW for testing initially. This may limit initial interoperability of HD Voice in the beginning. Sprint to SoftBank Mobile VoLTE calls should be able to use HD Voice from the beginning, and vice versa. Sprint will leave some CDMA voice capacity indefinitely. However, ultimately the goal is to remove CDMA 1X Voice when coverage and quality is equal or better than customers experience today. Additional low frequency spectrum may be required, depending on future voice demand which is steadily declining. VoLTE calls will not be given QoS Priority on LTE initially. Should LTE capacity constraints be experienced during a VoLTE call, the call will be handed over to the 1x network. As the LTE network matures and loads are better balanced, voice on LTE will be given priority over other LTE traffic similar to WCDMA networks. FDD LTE networks will be preferred for VoLTE traffic over TDD LTE. TDD already has the uplink slotted for maximum data download efficiency. Adding additional uplink data demand for voice (which is synchronous in nature) on TDD (which is not synchronous) may cause a noticeable data upload degradation in voice demand scenarios. Due to FDD being synchronous in nature like voice calls operate, Sprint VoLTE will prefer FDD LTE over TDD LTE when possible to provide for the best network operation. Interoperability over getting it installed now   One of the key reasons why Sprint is going to be last to the VoLTE race is because of interoperability. The most important attribute to Sprint for VoLTE is roaming with other providers. Early VoLTE networks will either not support interoperability, or will require significant upgrades or network changes to allow it. VoLTE is only now maturing to a state of interoperability where there are enough standards to ensure a system that can work with other providers.   Unlike the Duopoly and some other early VoLTE adopters who may not care for an open voice network, and may even be against it, Sprint is making sure that its network is designed with interoperability in mind. So it works with other providers from the beginning. Sprint is likely working with CCA and RRPP members. And this makes sense in context with remarks recently from RRPP partner VTel in Vermont.   The Sprint network is being designed from the get go to make sure it can host roaming for other LTE providers around the country and around the world, and also that Sprint VoLTE devices are capable of roaming on partner LTE networks as well.   LTE can finally be that bridge to a cohesive global voice and data network among different providers. Since the world is embracing LTE as the de facto standard, it would be a shame to miss out on that level of interoperability. Granted, there will be some band support issues, but OEM’s have made great strides in providing devices to handle a great many bands these days. The current Nexus 5 model supports many LTE bands already.   Sprint is banking on the slower and well planned route to VoLTE is going to provide a better network to seamless global interoperability for Sprint customers. Now if the FCC and DOJ will take notice and stop the Duopoly from buying out CCA members. This is the largest threat to competition in the wireless market currently, in my opinion.     CCA Member Coverage Map. This is an illustration of what LTE and VoLTE could look like upon all existing CCA members upgrading to fully interoperable LTE/VoLTE networks.

S4GRU

S4GRU

Will LTE service on Rural Roaming Preferred Program partner networks be native coverage for Sprint customers?

by Robert Herron Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 1:30 PM MDT   A few months back, Sprint announced new group partnerships with members of the CCA (Competitive Carriers Association) to expand the availability of Sprint LTE availability in many places across the country outside Sprint service areas. Additionally, Sprint has recently formed a subgroup of current/future LTE providers of the CCA that is referred to as the Rural Roaming Preferred Program (RRPP). Announcing such a deal with nTelos in May, and nearly another dozen in June.   Sprint is part of the over-arching CCA, and working with its large membership group to establish a national LTE roaming group. However, where the action is happening now is with the Rural Roaming Preferred Program. RRPP members are joining a specific Sprint alliance which gives them more direct access to Sprint, their vendors, technology, devices and most importantly…Sprint’s vast spectrum holdings.   As it has been explained to us, CCA members who are not a part of Sprint’s RRRP program are using their own spectrum and resources. Current disclosed members of the RRRP are regional and rural providers nTelos, C-Spire Wireless, SouthernLINC Wireless, Nex-Tech Wireless, Carolina West Wireless, VTel Wireless, Flat Wireless, MobileNation/SI Wireless, Inland Cellular, Illinois Valley Cellular, James Valley Telecommunications and Phoenix Wireless. There are more currently in discussion. Some speculate US Cellular will be announced soon, but we have not been able to confirm that.   The news of the CCA and RRPP partnerships was well received by Sprint customers and members of the S4GRU community. Our members have been stoked at this announcement for months. Craving more details. When is this going to happen? Where, exactly? And the most important question to our readers has been, ‘how will the service be treated…native or roaming?’   In press conferences, news releases and media coverage, it is often being referred to as “LTE roaming” deals. When people see the term roaming, they immediately conjure up ideas of monthly limits or added expenses. For instance, most Sprint postpaid plans currently limit their 1xRTT and 3G EVDO data roaming to only 100MB or 300MB per month. That’s not very much. So many of our members at S4GRU have wondered whether these “LTE roaming” deals would count against current very limited roaming allotments, or if something more generous would be provided on partner LTE networks. This has been the source of some anxiety to our members who want to be excited about this, but want to understand the full impact to their usage behaviors.   Drum roll, please…   We recently have received verification from a Sprint executive, who will remain anonymous, that the coverage with the RRPP providers will be treated as native. Fully native. When you are on these rural partner networks, it will be like you are on your Sprint LTE coverage and all your normal account usages will be allowed.   If you have a 1GB data plan with Sprint. Your usage on these other networks counts against your 1GB monthly allotment. And if you have an unlimited plan on Sprint, you can use unlimited smartphone data on these rural partner networks.   The executive said the point of these new coverages is to provide a seamless customer experience travelling from Sprint LTE coverage into these new rural partner coverage areas. To feel like they are on the Sprint network. And maybe even better in many instances given the lightly used rural nature of this additional coverage. They want Sprint customers, and in turn rural partner customers on the Sprint network, to enjoy a cohesive and expanded national LTE footprint. Something that makes them more competitive with the duopoly.   Some of these rural partners already have their own operating LTE networks on varied spectrum holdings. And others are counting on Sprint spectrum to host their LTE networks or supplement them. We are told that existing LTE networks from these RRPP members on frequencies that current Sprint LTE devices support should be open as soon as logistically possible. Maybe even this summer. They continue to work out some network bugs and billing/authentication issues. Additional LTE frequencies in Band 4 and Band 12 are anticipated to be added to new upcoming devices at the end of this year or early next year and will add even more mileage.   This is great news for Sprint customers. This will open up a lot more LTE coverage. Upon full implementation, the coverage will be quite expansive in square miles. When other CCA partner providers coverage comes online, Sprint should be able to handily eclipse AT&T’s LTE network coverage. Which has recently been purported to be mothballed by AT&T, with no timelines in place to restart. We currently do not know the details of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) on these partner networks. But a VTel Wireless executive did mention recently in a Fierce Wireless article that they were deploying VoLTE themselves. Sprint has been very mum on their VoLTE plans internally or through partners.   We currently do not know if the LTE coverage that is provided by CCA members outside the RRPP will be counted as native the same way. Though T-Mobile is a member of the CCA, they are not a member of Sprint’s RRPP. So Sprint and its customers may see some unique advantages in both off network usage being counted as native and the availability of many more spectrum bands and more coverage than other standard CCA members experience.   We excitedly watch and discuss the progress in S4GRU forums. Stay tuned.       CCA Partners Sprint referenced this past March:

S4GRU

S4GRU

LG G2 mini: A Day Late and a Dollar Short?

by Josh McDaniel Sprint 4G Rollout Updates Friday, June 13, 2014 - 10:59 AM MDT   Earlier this year, rumors began circulating that Sprint and LG were going to release the LG G2 mini, a smaller version of the G2. The model number of the phone was even listed as LGLS885. Earlier this week, LG received FCC OET approval for that very model number. But is this phone too late to market, as the release of the LG G3 is rumored to be early this summer? No, it couldn't come at a more perfect time.   The phone is to have the following specs (according to the Sprint UA profile): Qualcomm MSM8926 1280 x 720 HD resolution 4.7” screen Android 4.4.2 build LS885Z03 KitKat on board with an update already in the works to build LS885ZV2 (Android 4.4.3?) 1 GB RAM 8 GB internal flash storage 32 GB compatible microSD card slot 8 MP rear camera 1.3 MP front camera The authorization docs indicate the G2 mini to be potentially the first VoLTE capable Sprint phone to pass through the FCC. The key is "potentially." Authorizations for other G2 mini variants also include notation of VoLTE capability, so that may be just boilerplate at this point. Below you will find a screenshot documenting such language. Could this mean that this year's flagships prior to the G2 mini won't get VoLTE? Who knows? They could receive OTA updates, but Samsung and HTC aren't obligated.     Of course, being tri-band, this phone isn't SVDO nor SVLTE capable. We remind you of this every time because some still ask if they can talk and surf the Web at the same time on Sprint tri-band LTE phones. No, only on Wi-Fi. However, if VoLTE is enabled for use on the G2 mini, then it could allow voice and data at the same time. But until Sprint clarifies its VoLTE stance, we can't be sure such a feature will be activated any time soon. “QoS” could be the deciding factor.   As for RF performance, it appears that LG and Sprint have purposely optimized this phone for TD-LTE on band 41. EIRP levels for band 41 are around 5-7 dB higher than EIRP for band 25 and ERP for band 26. Why is that? One explanation is to help camp users on band 41 as the primary LTE band and use band 25 and band 26 only where band 41 LTE isn’t available.   A date for release has not been mentioned, but my personal projection is for the G2 mini to be available before the end of the summer.   Sources: FCC OET, Sprint UA Profile

MacinJosh

MacinJosh

×